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V-22 Osprey - VMM-263 prepares for September Deployment

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  • V-22 Osprey - VMM-263 prepares for September Deployment

    NEWS TRANSCRIPTS from the United States Department of Defense

    Presenter: Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Conway and Deputy
    Commandant for Aviation Lt. Gen. John Castellaw April 13, 2007 11:00 AM
    EDT
    DoD News Briefing with Gen. Conway from the Pentagon

    GEN. CONWAY:Good morning.I'd like to thank you all for taking time to
    share
    in what is truly a historic day for your Marine Corps.It's my pleasure
    to
    announce that the Marines VMM-263, the world's first tiltrotor squadron,
    will also be the first to take the MV-22 Osprey into combat.These
    hardworking professionals in a remarkable aircraft will deploy to al
    Asad,
    Iraq in September of this year.This deployment directly supports our
    Corps
    number one priority:the Marines and sailors in contact at the tip of the
    spear.

    The story of how we got here as been a long one, and I'll leave it to
    you
    to recount that history.I'll just say that the quantum leap in
    technology
    that this aircraft will bring to the fight has been a road marked by
    some
    setbacks, lots of sacrifices and the success of these Marines standing
    before you today.

    This is a great day for our Corps and for my aviation folks, in
    particular.Before I turn the program over to our deputy commandant for
    Aviation, Lieutenant General John Castellaw, I ask that as you make your
    way
    down to Quantico today aboard those CH-46s outside, that you make some
    mental notes so that you can compare and contrast our oldest rotor wing
    platform to its replacement, the Osprey.You'll soon see why we're so
    excited
    about the V-22.

    Thank you, folks.Enjoy your flights today.

    GEN. CASTELLAW:As the commandant indicated, we'll be deploying VMM-263,
    the
    first tactical tiltrotor squadron, combat squadron to Iraq in September
    of
    this year.We've gone through a very deliberate process to ensure that
    operationally, logistically that the squadron and the aircraft is ready
    to
    deploy.It's been through extensive operational testing and evaluation,
    and
    it is our fervent feeling that this aircraft is the most capable,
    survivable
    aircraft that we carry our most important weapons system in, which is
    the
    Marine riflemen, and that we will successfully introduce this aircraft
    in
    combat.

    With that, I'm ready to take any question that you might ask.

    Rick.

    Q General Castellaw, what difference exactly do you think the V-22 will
    make in Iraq?I mean, could you describe some of the missions it might
    fly
    and how it'll change them?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:First of all, you know, the primary troop assault
    aircraft
    now is the CH-46.It 's almost 40 years old.It was introduced in the
    middle of
    Vietnam.The aircraft is old in the tooth, and its capability in terms of
    range and payload is not what we want.So we have been developing the
    V-22 as
    its replacement, again, to survive in a combat environment.This aircraft
    from the very beginning, from the time we put the first piece on the
    deck,
    was held to stringent combat characteristics and requirements.

    So what we have is an aircraft that goes twice as fast.It goes three
    times
    as far, and it is the most survivable, about six or seven times of what
    the
    aircraft that it replaces is.On a mission, it can be at 200-plus knots
    in 15
    seconds climbing the altitude.Fixed-wing use altitude as an area to get
    outside of the range of missiles and fire -- small-arms fire.We'll be
    able
    to do the same thing with this aircraft to get above the threat.

    Yes, ma'am.

    Q Can you talk a little bit about the threat over there?How many CH-46s
    have been lost in enemy action or down for maintenance?And are you doing
    a
    one-for-one replacement of CH-46s with the MV-22 -- (off mike).

    GEN. CASTELLAW:We have had seven aircraft that have been destroyed in
    combat operations.We've had others that have been damaged, but seven
    have
    been destroyed.

    The V-22 will be able to, again, fly above the threat.It also has all
    the
    survivability equipment that's required.It has missile warning systems,
    it
    has self-defense weapons, it has radar warning systems, it has ability
    to
    expend flares.The IR on the engine is suppressed, and then, combine that
    with tactics and techniques and procedures that we're able to accomplish
    with the capabilities of this aircraft, make it a survivability that we
    have
    to have.

    Yes, sir.

    Q You said it was six or seven times more survivable.I was wondering
    what
    metric you used, comparison of survivability with this and the CH-46s.

    GEN. CASTELLAW:It's a combination of metrics.First of all, our
    signature is
    lower.The acoustic signature is lower.It flies faster and it flies
    higher.And then if it were to be hit, it was designed from the beginning
    to
    absorb hits from weapons.So all this comes together to give it its
    survivability quotient.

    Yes, sir.

    Q Some skeptics of this aircraft have said that its main vulnerability
    is
    when it comes into the landing zone, it doesn't have the maneuverability
    that a helicopter has.Could you address that question?That's said to be
    its
    main weakness.

    GEN. CASTELLAW:I fly the V-22, and I have taken it and used it in a
    tactical manner, how we would employ it.We can come out and descend at
    6,000
    feet-per-minute in fixed-wing mode.We can skim along the ground at 240
    knots.And then within a fairly short distance from the landing zone
    where
    we're going to insert the troops or extract them, then we start the
    transition to the helicopter mode.

    The aircraft, once in helicopter mode, is powerful and agile.It is at
    least
    as good getting in the zone and I think better, again from personal
    experience, than the 46 is.So the ability to maneuver this aircraft is
    far
    in excess of what we have with the existing helicopters.

    Yes, sir.

    Q (Name inaudible) -- McClatchy newspapers.

    Could you describe the missions that it will be performing over there?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:The V-22 is a medium-assault tiltrotor.What it's primary
    mission is to take Marines into combat.It has the capability to carry 24
    personnel, combat-loaded Marines.Externally, it can lift 10,000
    pounds.Internally, you can trade off gas or whatever in order not to
    exceed
    the max gross weight, but you can put up to 20,000 pounds inside the
    aircraft.So it will carry packs, cargo.It will do also 12 litters in
    terms
    of evacuations, medically if required.So it is a real utilitarian
    aircraft
    that we will use for a variety of individual missions that are under the
    overall helicopter assault, tiltrotor type.

    Yes, sir?

    Q Sir, what does the aircraft require in terms of maintenance, as
    opposed
    to the 46 or the 53, I mean ground time as opposed to flying time.

    GEN. CASTELLAW:Right now we're still in the process of collecting that
    data.In terms of flight operations, right now it's between some of the
    less
    sophisticated aircraft and the 53.The 53 right now takes about 40 man
    hours
    to every flight hour.The V-22 initial data we have, it's a fraction of
    that.

    Yes, sir?

    Q What will be the self-defense weapons that you'll put on these in
    Iraq?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:First of all, it has missile warning systems on the
    aircraft
    to identify MANPADS missiles.It also has systems that identify lasers as
    well as radars.In terms of other self-defense systems, it has a gun
    that's
    mounted on it.And like we do with all our other aircraft, we'll fly in
    formation.When we fly, the tactics are such that you cover each other
    when
    you fly in a zone.Also, we routinely provide additional assets, such as
    attack helicopters and fixed wing to provide additional support and
    suppression, should that be required.

    Yes, sir?

    Q Can you give us a sense of what protections the chopper has to avoid
    --
    or at least warn the pilots when they get into a vortex ring state --
    the
    cause of the April 2000 flight -- the -- (inaudible) -- that killed 20
    Marines.What's the improvement, for those who haven't followed this?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:Well, the first thing is -- and by the way, when you're
    in a
    helicopter mode, you get the same restrictions that I have when I fly a
    46.This situation is caused by descending at a low air speed at a high
    rate
    of descent when under a lot of power.You don't want to do that in a
    helicopter and you do not want to do that in a tiltrotor.And we don't
    have
    to do it in a tiltrotor.I told you originally that one of the tactics in
    coming into the zone was come down at 6,000 feet per minute rate of
    descent.And we do that in the fixed-wing mode.We do not intend to
    routinely
    use this aircraft and come out of a high altitude in the helicopter
    mode.

    So we will come out at 240 knots, you know, up to 6,000 feet per minute
    rate of descent, get down to 200 feet and approach the zone and then do
    the
    transition to the helicopter mode.And with that, we will avoid --
    rightly
    so, because that's a better tactic to use in combat -- being in that
    position.

    If we were, for whatever reason, to be in a helicopter mode and want to
    come down at a slow rate of descent and at low air speed, then the
    aircraft
    has a better capability of flying out of that state than a helicopter
    does.All you have to do is move the nacelles about 15 degrees, and what
    you
    do is you change the thrust of the airflow from going straight down,
    where
    you're descending in the bubble, to where it's behind you, and you fly
    out
    of it.

    In a helicopter, what you have to do, if you got enough altitude
    remaining,
    is put the nose down, which is -- helicopter guys don't like to do --
    and
    lower the power, which they like to do even less, and try to fly out of
    it.So with a V-22, you get out of it faster and easier than you do in a
    helicopter.But the first thing we're going to do is -- that right now is
    not
    really part of our normal tactics in using these aircraft.

    Q Tactical adjustments, basically, versus any kind of materiel or
    software
    adjustments, to avoid this --

    GEN. CASTELLAW:We have a warning system on this aircraft.If you're in
    that
    -- get close to that particular regime, it tells you.But you know, the
    tactics that we are going to use are going to minimize the requirement
    or
    the need to be in that regime.

    Yes, sir?

    Q Sir, you may have said it and I missed it, but what's the replacement
    schedule for the 46?And what is that current schedule?And do you expect
    to
    meet that production decision?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:We're operating five V-22 squadrons now.We have one
    VMX-22,
    which is the operational and test squadron.We have VMMT-204, which is
    the
    training squadron.And then we have the three tactical squadrons, 263,
    162
    and 266.What we intend to do is reach a transition schedule of two
    squadrons
    per year, and we expect to achieve that in about a year or so, get to
    that
    particular rate of two squadrons a year.

    Q When do the last 46 leave the fleet?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:Well, it'll be after I'm gone, around 2018.

    Yes, sir.

    Q Sir, can I ask you, how many 22s are in the squadron?And what
    fraction
    will this squadron represent to the total airlift capacity you're going
    to
    have in Anbar?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:The numbers of airplanes in the squadrons depend on the
    type
    of squadron.We got about four aircraft in VMX-22, and that moves up and
    down, depending on what level of testing that we need to do.We have been
    20
    and 29 aircraft in VMMT-204, and again, that depends on what level of
    training we've got going through there.And then the tactical squadrons,
    we'll maintain between 10 and 12, depending on what the particular
    mission
    is and where it's going and to any particular time.

    Q And what will that be in your airlift capacity?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:It will constitute about a third of the medium-lift
    assets
    available to Marines in Iraq.

    Yes, sir.

    Q Eric Weiner, (TBS ?).Do you have plans to deploy this aircraft, this
    new
    aircraft in Okinawa or other Pacific theaters?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:Eventually we will replace the squadrons that are
    currently
    located in the Pacific with V-22s, the CH-46 squadrons; exactly where
    they're going to be located -- we're in a review right now of that, so I
    could not tell you with preciseness exactly where the V-22 squadrons are
    going to end up in the Pacific.

    Yes, ma'am.

    Q What have you done to test them against the desert conditions they'll
    experience in Iraq, the sand and the arid conditions?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:The squadron that's deploying, VMM-263, has been out
    west to
    the desert twice.They're going to go again.We have what we call Mojave
    Viper; it is a continuing exercise.It prepares not only aviation but the
    ground forces for deployment to Iraq.It will go through Mojave Viper.We
    also
    have what we call Desert Talon, which is conducted -- Marine Aviation
    Weapons and Tactics Squadron-One, MAWTS-1, which also is located in
    Yuma,
    Arizona, and it's a lot of dust out there.So we have put this aircraft,
    not
    only during its operational and developmental testing in that
    environment,
    but we continue to train with that for the squadrons that are going to
    deploy.

    Back in the back.

    Q Is this aircraft difficult to learn to fly?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:Well, I'll tell you, it's most difficult for us old
    codgers
    to do it.Helicopter guys are used to up and down with a collective and
    the
    cyclic.With the V-22, we have a thrust control lever, and to go fast you
    push it forward, and to go slow or go down you push it back.And instead
    of
    just having two things, you have a third one, which is a rocker switch
    that
    moves the nacelles.Once you learn to incorporate the rocker switch and
    the
    other two movements, you got it waxed.

    I found -- and I have talked to other old guys like me who have flown
    it,
    that all you have to do is introduce one significant emotional event
    when
    you're down low by going the wrong way, and after that you're
    fixed.(Laughter.)

    Yes, ma'am?

    Q Thank you, sir.I was wondering if politics was at all a consideration
    in
    your choice, perhaps the visibility that this aircraft will have in Iraq
    versus in Africa and how that will affect, you know, successful missions
    and
    also missions that turn out like you want?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:You know, I was walking down the hall and the J3 of the
    Joint Staff, Doug Luke (sp), asked me, "Hey, when can we have this
    aircraft
    in Afghanistan?"I've had another one ask me, "When can we have this
    aircraft
    in the Horn of Africa?"Still others want it in the Western Pacific.

    I think you've seen the commandant on numerous times say that his
    objective
    is to provide the best equipment available to those Marines that are in
    the
    greatest need.And right now, after we've done the evaluation, done the
    troop
    to task evaluation, it is our view that the V-22 right now can do the
    greatest amount of support in Iraq.As soon as we get the other squadrons
    transitioned, we'll be putting them aboard ships where they will operate
    routinely, and we will deploy them to other locations.And it may be as
    we go
    through here and things continue to improve in West Anbar and other
    locations that we may move this aircraft around.It can fly 900 miles
    un-refueled.It has the capability to be aerial refueled.It can go to any
    location within Iraq from the place that we're going to put it without
    being
    refueled.So you have a mobile capability here that we can put -- in its
    expeditionary nature -- to where we need it.And I'm sure that
    operational
    forces will be able to utilize that capability.

    Q Thank you.

    Do you have any big questions on how it will perform on those ships?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:I'll get back to you.

    Q Thank you.

    Q Point of clarification on a previous question -- are you confident
    that
    this aircraft is going to be able to better survive the threats that
    have
    brought down helicopters in recent months in Iraq?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:Yes.Going back to it again, it's twice as fast, going
    240
    knots.If you've ever gone rabbit-hunting, you know that it's harder to
    shoot
    a rabbit that's running than the one that's sitting still.(Laughter.)

    When you're talking about the ability to climb to altitude outside the
    heart of the threat over there, and fly above it, then you avoid it.You
    can
    plan for coming down into the particular area that you're going to
    operate
    at a lower altitude with, by having coordinated assets to support you
    there,
    and I'm talking about the gunships, whether we're talking about
    fixed-wing
    or rotary wing.And so that will allow us to reduce the time that our
    Marine
    sailors -- and we'll fly soldiers and airmen and whoever else that needs
    to
    be moved to -- that will reduce the time that they're exposed to the
    threat.

    Yes, ma'am, I'll get back to you.

    Q Oh, I appreciate you coming back.

    I just wanted to follow up on the ship question, if you had any
    lingering
    questions about how it would perform on a ship.

    GEN. CASTELLAW:It's going to perform well.We've done exhaustive tests
    aboard ships.Within the last few months, we've been out on some of the
    support ships that have small platforms, landing platforms, and fairly
    austere.So we continue to expand the numbers of ships and all that it
    can
    operate on.And so we feel real comfortable with its ability to operate
    in
    the maritime environment.

    Yes, ma'am.

    Q Sir, what is the simplest way that you can explain the problems that
    led
    to the crashes that were so high-profile the last few years, and how
    those
    have been fixed?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:The one that we talked about earlier on was the vortex
    ring
    state.That's -- so helicopter pilots call it power settling, because
    you're
    flying at a low air speed, fairly high altitude, and you got a lot of
    power
    on the aircraft.So essentially, if I can try to use my hands, is --
    you're
    almost coming down vertically.

    When that happens, particularly as in the case at Mariana, when your
    tailwind -- what that does is keep the turbulence under you.And as that
    turbulence increases and your power increases, your blades start to
    stall
    out from the center out, and you get a column of air that comes up
    through
    it.And eventually the blades complete the stall, and the aircraft
    becomes
    uncontrollable.

    Now, what we will do -- and this -- that particular aircraft started
    out at
    2,000 feet -- we do not expect to descend from 2,000 feet in a
    helicopter
    mode.We'll be in the fixed-wing mode.We'll avoid that.

    If we -- for whatever reason, we have to do that, and we're in that, as
    I
    said, take that little thumb, which is the very important appendage to a
    V-22 guy, and you push it forward 15 degrees and you fly out of it
    almost
    instantaneously and recover.

    So that process is what we are teaching in simulators.Everybody has a
    dedicated simulator flight that shows you how to do that, shows those
    conditions to you and allows you to understand them, feel them and then
    fly
    out of them.

    We also have a warning system that says when you reach those
    parameters,
    800 feet per minute rate of descent and 40 knots or below, you know,
    hey,
    you're stupid, you're stupid; fly out of it.(Soft laughter.)And you do
    that.Okay?So that will happen.

    On the one at New River, what was happening is, as there's a -- you
    know,
    like a(n) easy button -- I don't know -- Radio Shack or whatever -- you
    know, the easy button -- well, on the aircraft, you have a reset button
    for
    the flight control system.What happened at New River was -- is that
    there
    was a software flaw in there that every time you hit that button, it
    caused
    the props to come back to zero pitch.Okay.And when that happened,
    because we
    also had an associated hydraulic failure, one of the props was moving at
    a
    slower rate than the other.

    And so every time you did the easy button and reset it, then you had
    put a
    yaw into the airplane and a deceleration, and eventually, it was in
    airplane
    mode, the aircraft stalled.And when it stalled, then it hit the
    terrain.Since then, we've reworked the hydraulic system, we've reworked
    the
    software, we've rerouted hydraulic lines, and we have addressed those
    issues
    that we discovered.And then, in addition to that, as a part of the
    training,
    people now ensure that you have a better understanding of as you do
    these
    particular things and these procedures and what impact you're having on
    the
    airplane.

    So we're very confident that in both of these situations we've
    identified
    what the issues were, and either through a combination of mechanical
    software, training, that we have addressed those issues and that the --
    that
    those are no longer problems that -- with the airplane.

    Yes, ma'am.

    STAFF:Excuse me.Pam, this will be the last question.

    Q Clarify on the seven aircraft.Were they all 46s?

    GEN. CASTELLAWOff mike.)

    Q Okay.And how many Marines did you lose in (that ?) combat?

    GEN. CASTELLAW:I'm not going to talk about that.

    Thank you very much.I've enjoyed talking with you.And again, a big day
    for
    the Marine Corps, and I think a big day for those Marines that are in
    harm's
    way.

    Thank you much.

  • #2
    Say again...

    ...that part about the 240 Knot approach and 6000 foot rate of descent until 200 feet AGL!

    I suppose they wait until after sunset to do this?

    They have earned their bragging rights.

    Incredible!
    /s/ray

    Raymond J. Norton
    1513 Bordeaux Place
    Norfolk, VA 23509-1313

    (757) 623-1644

    Comment

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