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Monday June 5, 2000

MV-22 Osprey Production Aircraft Resume Operational Evaluation

HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS, Washington D.C., USA ( USMC Capt Bakkar-Poe ) - Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) of the MV-22 Osprey resumed today at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, California.

OPEVAL is designed to validate the aircraft's tactical application in support of Marine Corps missions and will continue to be flown by the Multi-Service Operational Test Team (MOTT) pilots.

The MV-22's OPEVAL initially began in November 1999 and was temporarily halted following the loss of 19 Marines in a crash at Marana Airport in Tucson, Arizona on April 8.

The MOTT, comprised of Marine and Air Force pilots, aircrew, maintenance personnel, operations analysts and flight engineers, will evaluate the MV-22's readiness to join the fleet.

The fifth Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft, from Marine Corps Air Station New River will join OPEVAL in China Lake to enable the MOTT to conduct and complete extensive operationally representative missions with four aircraft.

Following completion of operations in China Lake, the MV-22 will conduct OPEVAL missions with passengers on board. The MV-22 has safely flown more than 40 troop-lift missions and has carried more than 700 troops during OPEVAL flights. Gen. Jones plans to be aboard the first aircraft carrying passengers.

Current timelines estimate OPEVAL to be completed in mid-July. Upon completion, the MOTT will prepare a report with an evaluation of the MV-22's suitability and effectiveness for operational use. The Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force and the Commander, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center will review the report and make a recommendation about operational suitability and effectiveness of the MV-22.

Successful completion of OPEVAL is required to support the full rate production decision scheduled for later this fall. Plans call for the Marine Corps to purchase 360 MV-22s and the Air Force to buy 50 CV-22s.

The Marine Corps continues a thorough investigation of the recent accident and is committed to finding and correcting the cause.

Capt Bakkar-Poe (BP)
Headquarters Marine Corps
Division of Public Affairs
Media Officer
Pentagon Room 5E774







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