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A number of countries have shown interest in the V-22 Osprey, including the UK, France, Italy and Spain according to the manufacturers.

The V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission, tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing and short takeoff and landing capability, designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

John R. Parker, Senior Manager, Tiltrotor Global Sales & Marketing at Boeing said:

“In the case of the UK and France, the interest is coming from the Navy.”

The V-22 first flew in 1989 and began flight testing and design alterations; the complexity and difficulties of being the first tiltrotor intended for military service in the world led to many years of development.

The United States Marine Corps began crew training for the Osprey in 2000, and fielded it in 2007; it replaced their CH-46 Sea Knights. The US Air Force fielded their version of the tiltrotor in 2009.

Since entering service with the US Marine Corps and Air Force, the Osprey has been deployed in transportation and medevac operations over Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Kuwait. Israel has also decided to purchase six of the aircraft.

This type of story isn’t new, last decade an independent British/US study jointly assessed the potential for the V-22 to meet current and future UK vertical airlift requirements.

The requirements for this study were based on the Royal Navy’s ‘Future Amphibious Support Helicopter’ programme, this was filled by the Merlin helicopter.

64 COMMENTS

    • Thats what i said when i read the story about joint trials aboard Ocean…..why do trials unless we are assessing them for operational suitability for our own use…..great kit but expensive….but i think they would prove value for money for the UK aboard QE&POW

    • Well, we do trials to make sure we can land USMC V-22s on our ships. It’s useful information but doesn’t mean we’re test-driving them. We’ve had Merlins on US carriers, it doesn’t mean USN is buying Merlin.

    • It’s no guarantee of uptake though. Look at the long and at one point fully funded trials of ScanEagle as just one example where the trial ended with no purchase or in that case even no obvious follow-on so far.

  1. They would add a huge benefit to our new carriers. US marines were looking to upgrade it to do air to air refuelling , which would go a long way to fend of the criticisms from those who decry the ‘limited’ range of the Lightening II.

  2. Would be a fantastic addition to the RN/FAA operating off QE/PoW for all the reasons given above. Money as always is the issue, I would hate to see future F35B orders slowed or reduced as a consequence of procuring the V-22. Although much maligned the range of the F35B is actually greater than the Super Hornet, whilst the use of the ramp on QE/PoW will extend range and payload. Along with SVRL it would be interesting to know what the range of the F35B in RN service would be. The introduction of 25 Merlin HC4s together with RAF Chinooks will provide significant capability in the Commando role. I find it difficult to see the justification regardless of the significant uplift in capability the V-22 would provide.

    • The main bonus for us is that it extends the capability of AEW. The Merlin cannot operate with much of a meaningful contribution as it cannot stray that far from the ship. However a v22 could cruise much higher and faster making it less vulnerable to attack and the ability to move and provide cover for far away ships. e.g RFAs stood off the main battle group. It also allows the delivery of things such as mail from much further away than a helicopter can manage. For example if you were trekking down to the Falklands you could send a V22 to Ascension without having to go close to collect mail. you can’t really do that to the same extent with a Merlin/Wildcat

  3. while a venerable workhorse, the Chinook is coming to the end of its service life. the V-22 is probably the most Ideal replacement. while it cannot carry as many men as a Chinook the V-22 is faster, can carry more externally and has a better operational range. general logistics, regular troop deployment and parachute operations can all be conducted by Ospreys making it a sound choice for the British Army

    If memory serves British army units used V-22s to ferry troops during a major anti insurgency operation in kandahar province

  4. Lots of potential as a force multiplier for the new carriers, but very expensive. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of roll on roll off capabilities the USMC develop for it in the near future. Could become extremely versatile.

  5. It seems unlikely.

    If they were close to making a decision to buy, they would have announced in the SDSR as it would be a nice PR spin for increasing capabilities.

    I am sure that the UK armed forces are interested in many pieces of equipment and discussing them, but that doesn’t relate to them being actually purchased.

  6. Four or five of these would provide better COD than helicopters. What would be cost of 12, 4 for COD, and 8 for AWACS?

  7. I think considering they have already paid the money for the helicopter version for AWACS, we won’t be buying an other option anytime soon.

  8. I had initially heard that this aircraft could not be used, as it would ‘cook’ the flight deck. Clearly the HMS Ocean coped ok…..

  9. 2 Ospreys flying some kind of holding pattern over North London this morning – probably to do with the Obama visit. Flying V low, underneath the traffic lining up for Heathrow.

  10. The Royal Australian Navy has been cross-decking USMC aircraft, including the V22, at RIMPAC 2016 on the Canberra Class LHDs.

    Agree that the V22 has potential for both AWACs and COD especially if the ADF ever decided to put the ski jumps on the Canberras to good use with an F35B acquisition.

    However they would also be useful in their primary role for long range infil/exfil of ground troops especially for SOCOMD Commandos and SAS.

    Compared to the ADFs current CH47F and MRH90 they have twice the range, fly more than 100 knots faster and 5,000 feet higher.What’s not to like?

    http://video.defence.gov.au/play/4771#

    CH53E

    http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/cache/5003/DefenceImagery/2016/S20161834/20160717ran8494670_605.t578da2a0.m1200.xcc7538c5.jpg

    http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/cache/5003/DefenceImagery/2016/S20161834/20160717ran8100087_037.t578da29f.m800.x9f722fc1.jpg

    AH-1W Super Cobra and UH-1Y Venom medium utility helicopter

    http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/cache/5003/DefenceImagery/2016/S20161960/20160729ran8109938_158.t57a15ab2.m800.xdb311eb7.jpg

  11. Well if the Mod does decide to acquire V-22 it had best order within the next say 3-5 years. After that it would likely not be able to take advantage of a full rate production line at which point it’s already giant cost would skyrocket.
    The whole V-22 program wound up costing far more than intended when the U.S. Army backed out of it. Then it pretty much had to be paid for out of the Marine and Navy budget for development cause the Air Force order was tiny by comparison (50 units). So instead of the 1200 units envisioned it got pared down to roughly 430. So there went the economics of scale on initial orders.

  12. They are still crashing on average every six months (not every crash reported in news or leading to hull loss), with just over 200 in service since 2007 that’s a 1% annual accident rate, about 100 times greater than a Chinook.

  13. Good bit of kit which increases capability whats not to like if the price is right. We should be upping capability wherever we can as there is still a feeling we have built the hulls but cheapskating on kit be it numbers and capability.

  14. I think it would make a worthwhile edition to the UK carrier force. Osprey could be adapted to Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) and organic Air-to-Air refuelling. The latter is critical as it would allow CAP greater on station times acting as a force multiplier.
    Further, it Osprey could act as plane SAR whilst providing a viable combat SAR option for F-35 strike missions.

    Of course, if you have Osprey in the Orbat for these roles, you may as well go the whole hog and replace Merlin Mk4 in the Commando role.

  15. The V22 would be a huge shot in the arm regarding capability, a real force multiplier, if it was primarily used for AAR and COD use.

    It would also be fine asset for AEW, but Crowsnest is already well underway, so best we leave that one alone I guess.

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