A team of pilots and engineers recently conducted MV-22 Osprey landing and ship compatibility tests aboard the amphibious transport dock USS New York, say the U.S. Navy.

The testing also included the first shipboard landings for the U.S. Navy’s new CMV-22B Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) variant of the Osprey.

Over the course of the 10-day detachment in July, the test team flew 180 shipboard approaches and landings, totaling just under 45 hours of flight testing, to develop a better understanding of how pilots can successfully avoid the effects of a phenomenon called ‘recirculation’ when flying to and from ships.

Recirculation occurs when the downwash from the aircraft’s rotors is reflected off a ship’s deck back into the rotors’ rotation arc, causing the aircraft to suddenly lose lift.

During the detachment HX-21’s CMV-22B COD aircraft made two delivery trips to the New York, ferrying maintainers and their supplies. Normally a test team and their equipment would be loaded aboard a ship pierside say the U.S. Navy; but because the New York was underway at the outset, everything for the tests had to be flown to and from the ship.

“The CMV-22B is a great choice for that mission,” said Navy Lt. Gavin Kurey, a test pilot and project officer at HX-21 who flew the first of the two COD trips to the New York with the squadron’s then-commanding officer, Lt. Col. John Ennis, and crew chief Brian Neseth.

“As we were planning the test detachment on-load missions, we realized that the Navy aircraft was going to be a viable resource for helping our team to accomplish its goals. And the aircraft just plugged right into its intended role perfectly.”

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the UK does need to buy into this platform for its carriers

16 will give us what we need for crowsnest, refuelling and COD – its a game changer for our key surface capability.

it would also release the Merlins tasked for crowsnest to other duties, where they are desperately needed.

Steve R

Fully agreed.

It’s assets such as this that would allow us to utilise the QE carriers to their full potential.

Harry Bulpit

The refueling capability offered by osprey is minimal at best, and would not be worth the investment. Not to mention the contract with air tanker would prohibit it.


I agree, the fuel load that could be transferred to the F35s and how that translates into extended range is somewhat negligible, especially if that were spread over multiple jets.


Crowsnest on a Merlin baggy has a top speed of something like 180 mph. Putting it on a +350 mph V22 would rip it to shreds. You would also need to consider the prop blades . On a V22 they reach down well below the fuselage in fwd flight. The blades would act as a huge close in radar reflector to Crowsnest limiting the look down and look up angle in the fwd hemisphere. You would need a complete redesign of the antenna and its deployment mechanism. With the delays already evident in the Crowsnest project on a Merlin nobody… Read more »

Supportive Bloke

I totally agree with that analysis. The ONLY way you can use a radar on a V22 would be to mount it topside ala E3 (looks down blind spot) or bottom side (big look up blind spot) ala Italians. The blades on a V22 are huge – although there is tech to look through blades it does degrade sensitivity. Simply from the time source and signal are obscured if nothing else. Ultimately with the rate drones are improving they will take over this job. Crows Nest is needed **now** but is a stepping stone capability. Again the USN and USMC… Read more »


Hi SB would a Chinook be better than a Merlin for crowsnest


No. As much as I believe the Chinook to be the best battlefield support helicopter in the World currently, the Merlin is a better option. The Chinook would need an expensive redesign to operate 24/7 from a ship. Yes the RAF do this with there’s. But they are only on the ship for a relatively short duration and the aircraft require a long a rigorous cleaning regime every day, to keep corrosion in check. Sure, you could drop a radar through the centre hatch (best option) or hang it from the ramp (very bad idea – ramp vibrates a lot,… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Can’t remember if I posted this before for you, but I agree that future unmanned UAV platforms are likely to be the AEW platform, probably from sometime in the mid-late 2030’s. Something like this Rhaegal RG-1 for example. https://www.sabrewingaircraft.com/cargo-uav/ Until then Crowsnest will be fine.

Such an aircraft, using a turboshaft engine (or perhaps multiple engines) driving generators that power ducted fans, could have significant range and endurance combined with a small VTOL footprint. The small ducted fans would avoid the radar issues of large tilt rotor solutions.


I think there’s scope for using hybrid air vehicles in the future for AEW over the carriers. Imagine one of these: https://www.hybridairvehicles.com/ Hanging around over the fleet, easily fast enough to keep up, can move off to avoid bad weather if needed. Endurance measured in days with space for crew to rest (assuming it is even manned). Once every few days it might need to come down to the fleet to refuel and restock (I wonder if you could do that with helicopters winching stuff down onto a platform on top of it as they do with submarine conning towers?).… Read more »

Glass Half Full

Whatever replaces Merlin Crowsnest really should be aiming for a 35,000+ feet ceiling for parity with E-2D and pushing out the radar horizon. Its not clear if either my example technology or yours can achieve that, although I don’t see a reason why not. The issue may be numbers of aircraft though. E-2D on US carriers are available in numbers that allow multiple aircraft in the air at one time, so this sets a fairly high bar for parity in terms of the region they can survey. A lower ceiling, say 20,000 to 25,000 feet isn’t a disaster, clearly Crowsnest… Read more »


Based on this analysis how about the Saab Erieye beam style AEW&C system mounted atop the AW609 aircraft?

The Erieye system is purported to weigh 1300 kg and the AW609 is rated to lift 1900 kg to 25000 ft. I am thinking that with some effort this could be made to work on the Queen Elizabeth carriers. I see a crew of 4 on the aircraft, pilot, co-pilot, and two seated operators behind the cockpit. Can this work or will the large propellers get in the way and degrade radar performance?

Glass Half Full

The AW609 has a very small cabin, in addition to the comments made by others about less than ideal radar interference from the rotors.

  • Cabin height: 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m)
  • Cabin width: 4 ft 10 in (1.47 m)
  • Cabin length: 13 ft 5 in (4.09 m)

In another comment I suggested a UAV as an example of a platform that seems a more likely path, longer term.


Wings won’t swivel on the AW609 for storage below deck. Also mounting the Erieye above the wing creates a stability issue for both the AW609 and the CMV-22B…

Andy P

Already said by guys who know way more than I do about it all but these aircraft are still pretty poor maintenance wise too I’m one who thinks there is potential for something like this but for now we just wouldn’t be getting value for money out of it.


On 17 September 2017, the UK announced it wasn’t interested in the CMV-22 “Osprey”…

( https://www.theregister.com/2017/03/24-uk_rules_out_v22_osprey_queen_elizabeth_carriers/ )

Daniele Mandelli

So, with that detailed Gunbuster explanation on why having Crowsnest on a V22 is a bad idea, how about a squadrons worth of V22 for the RM “Future Commando Force” and SF instead?

I’m thinking along the lines of the comments that using a QEC, such as POW, as a LPH is bad as it is too close to shore. With V22’s longer range, would it be a possibility?

Worth the investment?
Can a V22 fit inside a QEC lift?

Or, stick with the CHF Merlins and the possible 16 new Chinook that we heard had extended range?

Paul Bestwick

Going forward would the v280 be a better option than the v22?

Daniele Mandelli

Yes, why not. Lets say any tilt rotor design. I’m driving more at the expense being worth it for the capability not the make and model.

Glass Half Full

I wouldn’t necessarily limit the solution to tilt rotor, although that seems the most likely architecture to achieve both speed and range. I’d suggest the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program winner, which currently has both V-280 and SB-1 Defiant as candidates. The table in the linked Wiki article below is compiled from the RFI and includes both US Army and USMC reqs. AFAIK only the US Army have a formal program though at this time.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Long-Range_Assault_Aircraft

Glass Half Full

And if interested in the source RFI, it can be downloaded from the US Gov site – its the first download in the list “RFI_Intent.pdf”


Daniele Mandelli

Thanks GHF.

Supportive Bloke

Buying an off-the-shelf extended range Chinook would keep a lot of people very happy at a fixed fully known up front price. We already have all the support infrastructure in place for Chinook and the RAF like it as do SF.

The only way we will see V22 on QEC is if USMC bring them along which they may very well do on the Pacific tour next year.


The new buy Chinooks is in progress. The new aircraft will replace the original ones bought in the 1980’s, which are costing more and taking longer to maintain. There is one fly in ointment though, depending on your point of view. These aircraft are being purchased directly from the US Army and not Boeing, so cannot be part of the extant support contract. Both the V22 and CH53 have operated from the QE when it was on trials, operating off the East Coast of the US. The V22 is now a 30 year old design, in fact its overall design… Read more »


Yes, the MV-22 can fit on the lifts, as can the MH-53. Basically everything that lands vertically can use them to access the hangars.