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Friday October 13, 2000

Navy Certifies MV-22 Osprey

WASHINGTON, USA ( AP ) - he Navy certified as ``operationally suitable'' a hybrid helicopter-airplane known as the MV-22 Osprey.

The decision announced Friday after eight months of evaluation clears the way for a Navy decision to begin full production of the controversial aircraft to be flown mainly by the Marine Corps.
Eventually the Marines hope to field 360 Ospreys with a price tag of $36 billion.
The Osprey, which takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like an airplane, had a setback in April when one crashed during an Arizona evaluation flight and killed all 19 Marines aboard. An investigation determined the aircraft had no mechanical flaw and blamed the accident mainly on human error.
The few Ospreys produced for the testing and evaluation period that began last November were grounded for two months after the crash. Flights resumed in June but were halted again briefly in late August and early September while relatively minor mechanical problems were resolved.
The Osprey is built by Boeing Co. and Bell Helicopter Textron.
The Marines hope to have their first squadron of Ospreys ready for use next year.
Critics question whether the Osprey is safe and worth the price. The Marines consider it crucial to their future because it is intended to replace their fleet of aging and less capable troop-carrying helicopters.
Friday's certification by the Navy's Operational Test and Evaluation Command called the aircraft suitable for land-based operations but said more testing would be needed to certify it ready for sea-based duty.
Modifications to the Osprey's system for folding and stowing its tiltrotors and wings aboard ship require further testing and evaluation at sea. That is expected to be completed by Nov. 15, the Navy said.

Monday October 16, 2000


MV-22 Deemed Operationally Effective, Operationally Suitable

PHILADELPHIA, USA ( Boeing Company Press Release ) - The MV-22 Osprey has been judged operationally effective and operationally suitable for land-based operations, validating eight months of comprehensive evaluation and moving the tiltrotor aircraft a major step closer to full-rate production, Marine Corps officials announced Friday, Oct. 13.

The Operational Evaluation report, issued by the Navy's Operational Test and Evaluation Command, stopped short of declaring the aircraft suitable for ship-based operations, pending additional evaluation of the Blade Fold Wing Stow system. Since completion of Operational Evaluation, the system designed to fold and stow the prop rotors and wings has been modified and successfully demonstrated at the V-22 final-assembly facility in Amarillo, Texas.
Follow-on evaluation at sea is expected to be completed by mid-November. Successful sea trials will pave the way to full-rate production and multi-year procurement.
While the issue of shipboard compatibility awaits resolution, the report confirmed that the MV-22 met or exceeded all other key performance parameters. In key capabilities, the MV-22 proved its superiority to the CH-46E and CH-53D, the medium-lift aircraft the Osprey will replace. In the most telling comparison to the CH-46E the MV-22 boasts twice the speed, five times the range and triple the payload capacity. The report concluded that these and other enhancements unique to the MV-22 will revolutionize assault-support operations.
Capable of taking off and landing like a helicopter and also flying like a turboprop airplane, the MV-22 entered Operational Evaluation in November 1999 with fewer deficiencies than any aircraft in the history of naval aviation.
During test evaluations at Marine and Naval facilities throughout the country, the MV-22 logged 805 flight hours in 522 sorties. The Multi-Service Operational Test Team evaluated the aircraft's suitability for use by Marine Corps' operating forces through a series of representative missions from amphibious ships, airfields, remote sites, confined areas, ranges and other test facilities. A decision on whether to proceed with full-rate production is expected later this year.

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