Air Transportation: February 12, 2001


American commandos (Special Operations Forces, or SOF) are really looking forward to getting the V-22 aircraft. By 2004, fifty V-22s will replace 38 MH-53J helicopters and 14 MC-130E aircraft. The SOF transport fleet will then need half as many aerial tankers, a major operational cost savings. After SOF modifications, each V-22 will cost some $43 million. Unfortunately, the V-22 is a complex beast and has been having problems in it's final months of testing. The marines have suffered several fatal crashes and there is growing pressure to kill the program entirely. The SOF would probably suffer the most from this, even more than the marines. The V-22 is a dream machine for commandos, as it can go in low and fast at night, land like a helicopter to drop off or pick up troops, and be gone at high speed. You can't do that with helicopters or aircraft. 


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