Well, this is embarrassing.
Archived posts with tag ‘Marines’
A Marine Corps V-22 Osprey tiltrotor crashed during a training exercise in Morocco yesterday, killing two people aboard and injuring two others. The Marines have released only a few details so far, but it’s worth pointing out that the Boeing- and Bell-built V-22, which takes off and lands like a helicopter and cruises like an airplane thanks to its rotating engines, has a long history of mechanical problems — and a safety record far worse than the military likes to admit.
It’s been less than a month since the Marines flew their first robotic supply helicopter on its debut combat mission in Afghanistan. Already, the amphibious combat branch is working on the next generation of pilotless cargo copter — one that’s an order of magnitude more sophisticated, and can be controlled by an iPad or other tablet.
The Marines have begun testing K-MAX robotic supply helicopters in Afghanistan. Maj. Kyle O’Connor was kind enough to send photos.
It was June 12 in the Sangin Valley in southern Afghanistan. U.S. Marines had been fighting the Taliban all day and had suffered heavy casualties, including two killed. Several resupply convoys had been turned back by enemy attack. The Marines were running low on food, water, ammunition and medical supplies.
The cost for the Marines to fix and fly their full fleet of V-22 tiltrotors has grown by nearly two-thirds over just four years, according to a Pentagon estimate. In 2008, the Defense Department calculated the “lifetime” cost of operating 360 V-22 Osprey transports at $75 billion over roughly 30 years. Today the figure is more than $121 billion — a 61-percent increase.
The Marine Corps has responded to our story on the military’s apparent manipulation of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor’s safety record. “No one is more focused on the safety of the Marine V-22, or any other aircraft the Marines fly, than the Marine Corps,” a statement issued Thursday by the Corps assures, “because we know that those aircraft are flown by our Marines and carry our Marines and other coalition personnel into combat.”
It’s an aircraft with a reputation for falling from the sky. But on at least one occasion, the U.S. military’s controversial V-22 Osprey tiltrotor — a hybrid transport that takes off like a helicopter and cruises like an airplane, thanks to its rotating engine nacelles — did just the opposite. It flew upward, out of control of its pilots.
The NATO-led aerial armada that struck Libyan targets beginning March 20 was notable for what it lacked. Though some American naval jets flew from land bases, the air strikes on forces loyal to repressive Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi were not supported by a large-deck U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. All of the Navy’s 11 large flattops were on deployment to other conflict zones or in maintenance.
The future of the Marines, which has been hotly debated ever since Defense Secretary Robert Gates referred to it as our “second land army” days after he announced the closure of Joint Forces Command, may well lie more in the air than on the sea.
The Chinese aviation industry has begun testing a short-takeoff, vertical-landing naval fighter optimized for small aircraft carriers, according to English-language military trade publications. The reports last week cited rumors circulated by Chinese aviation blogs. “It is difficult to substantiate Internet chatter,” U.S.-based Defense News cautioned.
by KYLE MIZOKAMI The Japan Self Defense Forces are a lot like subatomic particles. Everyone knows they exist, or rather believes in the larger order of things that says they should exist, but few people can really tell you what they’re really like. The SDF keeps a low profile, in large part due to the [...]