“Game Changer” for US Navy – USN Air chief praises CMV-22B Osprey VTOL Tiltrotor on first deployment


The US Navy’s new CMV-22B Osprey has proven to be a “game-changing” platform during its first deployment, according to the US Navy’s chief of air.

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The CMV-22B is a variant of the V-22 Osprey, a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) multi-mission tiltrotor aircraft designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with long-range, high-speed cruise. performance of a turboprop aircraft.

“It (CMV-22B Osprey) turned out to be a game-changer for us on deployment,” said Vice Admiral Kenneth Whitesell, Commander Naval Air Force (NAVAIR) and Naval Air Force, United States Pacific Fleet. United States, said July 15, at a Naval Aviation Maritime Security Dialogue event hosted by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) and the U.S. Naval Institute.

A CMV-22B Osprey aboard the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). (US Navy)

The new Osprey reached initial operational capability in December 2021 during its maiden rollout on the US Navy’s Nimitz-class super carrier, USS Carl Vinson, in the Pacific, which also coincided with the F-35C’s first-ever forward deployment.

The new Osprey will replace the existing Greyhounds

The CMV-22 is meant to replace the US Navy’s existing C-2A Greyhound as a shipboard delivery (COD) platform to support F-35C deployment because the C-2A cannot carry the heavy F-135 engine of the Navy’s only fifth-generation long-range stealth attack fighter capable of carrying.

Powered by twin Rolls-Royce Liberty AE1107C engines, each delivering 6,200 horsepower, the CMV-22B can carry up to 6,000 pounds (2,721.55 kilograms) of cargo or personnel for a distance of 1,150 miles sailors (2,129.8 kilometres).

The C-2A, Powered by two Allison T56-A-425 turboprop engines producing 4,600 horsepower, has a slightly lower range of about 1,000 nautical miles (1,852 kilometers).

C-2A NP-2000 VRC-40 in flight 2009 (modified).jpg
A US Navy Grumman C-2A Greyhound in flight on October 29, 2009. (Wikimedia Commons)

Additionally, the CMV-22 can perform COD operations at night, which is a significant improvement over the Greyhound, as it provides more opportunities for the carrier to receive supplies.

This was evident when Whitesell pointed to “the ability to bring a CMV-22 aboard an aircraft carrier at night”, saying the Navy had been “reluctant in the past” to allow Greyhounds to make landings. at night on aircraft carriers “based on the avionics of this platform. ”

Additionally, the C-2A Greyhound was launched using catapults and recovered with an arrested landing, requiring the crew on board the carrier to make sure the equipment was still working.

Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey - Wikipedia
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey – Wikipedia

The CMV-22 can take off and land vertically, providing more flexibility to climb and around a theater.

“The ability to get it (CMV-22) up and down the deck fairly quickly, I don’t have to clean catapults 3 and 4 and land a COD; now I can land it like a helicopter,” Whitesell said.

The CMV-22’s VTOL capability also makes it suitable for medical evacuations, as medical personnel no longer have to worry about the effect of the massive launch force of catapults on patients.

A C-2 Greyhound takes off from an aircraft carrier at sea (Wikimedia Commons)

“It is no longer a catapult hit that the senior flight surgeon now has to worry about. Now we can fly somebody – we can fly somebody immediately for that,” Whitesell noted.

While the registration program called for 48 CMV-22s, the Navy plans to procure only 44 aircraft, according to NAVAIR’s fact sheet on CMV-22, last updated in February 2022.

Concerns about the operational suitability of CMV-22

There have also been concerns about the “operational suitability” of the CMV-22, as Bloomberg News reported in February, just as the US Navy official declared the IOC’s achievement of the new Osprey.

The CMV-22 “only partially met the reliability requirements”, reported Bloomberg citing a non-public assessment from the Pentagon’s test office.

Sailors assigned to Fleet Multi-Mission Logistics Squadron (VRM) 30 direct a CMV-22B Osprey from the ‘Titans’ flight deck VRM 30 of the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN- 70) on November 20, 2020 (US Navy)

This non-public assessment reportedly found that Osprey’s new ice protection system was responsible for 25% of the COD aircraft’s operational mission failures, leading to mission failures.

The ice protection system is responsible for preventing “aircraft icing” – atmospheric moisture from accumulating on aircraft surfaces, such as wings, propellers, rotor blades, engine air intakes and environmental control intakes – which could otherwise increase the aircraft’s weight and drag, decreasing its lift and thrust.

Additionally, there were problems with the aircraft’s high frequency (HF) radio required for communications beyond line of sight to support naval operations away from shore. The HF radio was reportedly “inconsistent, demonstrating a 12% success rate for long-range two-way communications,” according to the assessment.

Despite these issues, the test office found the CMV-22B Osprey to be as operationally effective for COD missions, medical evacuation, naval special warfare support, and search and rescue missions, according to Bloomberg. .

Likewise, even Whitesell concluded of the CMV-22 that it was “safe and effective when first deployed”.

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