- March 20 - As one of President Bush's Pentagon reviews is soon to be completed,
defense experts are speculating which weapons programs will be cut. TheMarine Corps V-22 Osprey is one of the threatened systems, and we think it
should end up on the chopping block as it did in 1989. The following are
some excerpts from the upcoming Council for a Livable World Education
Fund's FY 2002 Military Spending Briefing Book regarding the Osprey.
Is the V-22 is airworthy and safe? "The Osprey is a proven technology
purchased only after careful consideration for cost and operational
effectiveness." - Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Jones
Actually, this is not true. The V-22 has crashed four times, killing 30,
including two crashes last year causing 23 fatalities. An August 2000
report by the Pentagon's Inspector General described 22 "major
deficiencies" in the Osprey program. Recent evidence of falsified
maintenance records, which is now fingering Marine generals, proves that
the Marines closest to the V-22 know it will not fly as advertised. PhilipCoyle, the Pentagon's Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation,
claimed in a Nov. 2000 report that the Osprey's poor reliability record"suggests the V-22 would be available to conduct fewer missions, would
abort during a mission more often and would pose a significantly increased
maintenance burden." A January 2001 GAO briefing revealed the Osprey's
susceptibility to uncontrollable descents and accused the Navy of deleting"significant testing that would have provided additional knowledge on V-22
to meet program cost and schedule pressures." Most
recently, the independent panel investigating the V-22's credibility
accused Bell-Textron of purposefully glossing over the dangers of this
uncontrollable descent, or vortex-ring state.
Is the V-22 needed by the Marines? The Corps has not engaged in an
amphibious assault since the Korean War, yet they continue to insist the
Osprey is necessary to bring troops ashore quickly. However, any potential
quick troop deployment would be delayed until slower helicopters could
transport the necessary heavy equipment the Osprey cannot carry. Moreover,
Coyle noted that the V-22 can only complete its missions 57% of the time.
Internal Marine documents show that percentage is usually significantly
lower. If the Osprey cannot fly when needed, any potential advantage theV-22 may have over older transport helicopters is lost.
Aircraft Range Speed Max Payload Capacity Price*
Osprey 650 nm 240 knots 20,000 lbs 24 troops $58 mil.
CH-60 Seahawk 380 nm 180 knots 22,000 lbs 13 troops $18 mil.
UH-1Y Huey 350 nm 148 knots 18,500 lbs 13 troops $14 mil.**
CH-46E Sea Knight 132 nm 145 knots 24,300 lbs 22 troops NA
CH-53 Sea Stallion 578 nm 160 knots 40,000 lbs 37 troops NA
* Price per aircraft. Cost of Production, not including development costs
** UH-1N upgrades