posted on Jul, 26 2005 @ 11:53 AM
No they haven't really. In fact I know they have proposed increased spending from $1.69 billion to $1.77 billion in 2006. It's just beyond me how
they can continue to support a project that has been in "flight testing" since 1989 and now costs $80 million each versus $35 mil in 1989 when it
was cancelled. I just don't see why this project is such a big deal when you could just use knowledge gained from it to develop something that will
last well into the next few decades and incorporate new technology. I would propose using it in a limited role for border and customs missions.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the V-22 so long as you _do_ acknowledge the fact that it is an airplane, not a helicopter.
In particular, no helicopter can fly up to 15-20,000ft and make 500nm at 250-270 knots. Topping out the trashfire floor and getting to the mission
end of the radius in about 1:30 instead of a more typical 3-4 for a helo.
And /few/ helicopters can carry vehicles internally that far. The RSTV (Shadow) is specifically designed to be Osprey carriageable and the Gator and
UGV variants of same can also go aboard.
This is the key to understanding the difference between Vietnam styled 'air mobile' activities in which you have the stereotype image of a bunch of
Huey's coming into a hot LZ and dropping troops like sonobuoys.
Vs. the more modern emphasis of 'Air Mech' by which you land and _drive_ off the airplane towards 'the sound of gunfire' that may well be 20-60km
You try and hump your war to the enemy and you will be dead tired when he lets you catch up with him and kills you with heavy weapons you can't grunt
You drive to battle and you can bring the survivability inherent to armor and a fast getaway at the very least. And _heavy weapons_ like Netfires
and UAVs under optimum conditions.
The latter effectively letting you have what is called a Contempt Of Engagement doctrine whereby you sit in the boonies and watch the
guerilla/insurgent/main battle forces try and use the highway system to maneuver around in. Only to discover that just because you ain't there in
person, doesn't mean they aren't vulnerable to eating missiles from over the horizon.
Again, no helicopter can support this mode of deep-independent ops by 'RAPS' or Recce Attack Platoons. Because they need a specialist (KC/HC-130 or
similar) tanker to go any depth inland (after coming upwards of 200nm offshore in 'STOM' or Ship To Objective Maneuver over the horizon protective
mode on the MAGTF ships) and the Marines don't like to rely on things they can't bring with them.
There is also the consideration of a typical 9-11 hour 'air day' in which you can stage missions before having to cycle down for maintenance and the
The fastest that a conventional penny-farthing layout on a helo will go is about 170 knots sustained before the rotor starts to undergo RBS or
Retreating Blade Stall whose outcome is inevitably a roll to the retreating side of the disk. And 170 knots is just pathetic, particularly if you not
only have to come out, refuel and then go back on a 'normal' basis of insertion/retrieval. But particularly so if your team is in need of a
hurry-your-ass-up or "Hooyau!" extraction because the bad guys are hot on their backtrail.
Under these conditions and considering what large helos due to the normal LHA/LHD deck and hangar loads, you may well have to _shift_ assets to get a
timely pickup (vehicle or otherwise) and again, the faster you go, the more you are able to exploit USAF tanking at higher levels. And/or simply stop
at a covert bladder station for a gas'n'go quick return and pickup.
Things like rigid rotor compound helos with VFDP or Variable Thrust Ducted Propellors (ring-fenestrons like on a Gazelle or Eurocopter, only turned
90` to face backwards), even fullup X-Wings may someday improve matters for conventional helos. But the fact remains that by the time you develop
/that/ capability, you will be looking at replacing the Stallion and Chinook heavy lift as well as the Frog and MH-60 in the penetrating medium
And then the trainwreck pileup of competing requirements and not enough money to buy all we need will /really/ be bad.
The V-22 has problems with pressurization, electricals and a bunch of other stuff connected to the hydraulics systems. Unfortunately, real fixes for
these likely won't be found except by introducing the initial blocks to the fleet and then modifying later versions if not model-designators to get
towards a really acceptable platform.
Yet problems like the Arizona night assault landing crash that killed all those Marines are basically acts of stupidity on the part of the operators
and a lack of a driving doctrine to make things work the /right way/ (more motorized, fewer legs). So that you can land as gently as needed in some
far back of beyond and then _drive_ to the fight.
Once we get that down, much of the V-22's perceived vulnerabilities will go away and the thought of losing /either/ a 35 million dollar system OR an
80 million dollar one will not be seen in the same light as a Huey approaching that contested LZ back in SEA.