Thursday, March 31, 2011

Marines: F-15 pilot rescue demonstrates value of Osprey: "
MV-22 aboard Makin Island
When an Air Force F-15E crashed in eastern Libya Tuesday it provided the Marines a highly visible opportunity to show what the MV-22 Osprey could do.

Two Ospreys carrying Marine personnel recovery teams were launched from the USS Kearsarge amphibious assault ship and within 90 minutes had retrieved the downed pilot and returned safely.

Advocates of the costly and controversial tilt-rotor aircraft developed by Bell Helicopter and Boeing have long said the Osprey’s speed and longer range made it ideal for rescuing downed pilots or wounded and injured servicemen.

“This is absolutely one of the essential missions the Osprey is suited for,” said Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Brian Block.

The Bell-developed tilt-rotor technology enables the Osprey to cruise at about 275 miles per hour compared to about 172 miles per hour for the military’s modern H-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

“This demonstrates the versatility of the Osprey and its ability to operate in austere environments and even hostile environments,” said Block.

- Bob Cox


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