- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In the Washington in 5 minutes section of The Washington Times, the Government Accountability Office reported that the V-22 Osprey is incapable of performing in the way that was intended (“Officials say Osprey may be insufficient,” Nation, June 24). It simply does not meet operational demands in combat situations.

As an Air Force command pilot with 5,000 hours of flight in jet fighters, bombers, transports and seaplanes, I encountered flying personnel who were skeptical about the concept and worthiness of the machine. Aviation journals reflect the same attitude. Still, in spite of technical problems, testing catastrophes, cost overruns and high unit and operating costs, the flying curiosity that is the Osprey became operational.

Originally designed for all services and multiple missions, it can perform very few of them. Design flaws are inherent. Vibrations impact on hydraulic, electrical and mechanical linkages and systems. It cannot operate in either cold or hot weather or in sandy environments. It is a large and heavy aircraft by helicopter standards, with limited maneuverability and attending vulnerability.

There are safety issues as well. While one engine flight is possible, loss of power usually means disaster from auto-rotation problems. Rotor (propeller) hydraulics are a nightmare. Severe downwash from the prop rotors interferes with the ability of troops to exit the aircraft. Compared to other helicopters, there is limited carrying capacity. Combat operations in Iraq have demonstrated reliability problems. It fell short of achieving forecast mission capability, and complex and unreliable de-icing systems were revealed. Even engine service life does not measure up, and support costs are very high.

All things considered, the research, development, evaluation, testing and operational experience make one thing clear: The V-22 Osprey is not a viable military weapon. Moreover, it is too expensive. Each Osprey costs about $160 million. For the price of one Osprey, several combat-proven helicopters could be purchased. What more evidence is required? Taxpayers cannot afford the extravagance of continued support for this failed experiment. The bird needs to be committed to the deep.

RICHARD F. KOTT

Fort Washington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide