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Marine Corps arms Osprey with rockets and missiles – adds assault missions

File photo – August 3, 2012: An MV-22 (Osprey) aircraft arrives for a test flight with the Japanese delegation at the Pentagon landing field in Washington.

(REUTERS)

The Corps is now arming the Osprey tilt rotor aircraft with a range of weapons, so the attack support and escort missions in increasingly high threat combat environments.

Missiles, guns and missiles are among the weapons now being considered as the Corps explores the requirements for an “all-quadrant” weapons application compared to other possible configurations, such as purely “forward-looking weapons.

“The current requirement is for a allquadrant weapons system. We are re-examining that requirement—we can observe that in the first instance, forward-facing weapons could bridge the escort gap until we get a new rotary wing or tiltorotor attack platform, with a similar range and speed to the Osprey,” Capt. Sarah Burns, Marine Corps Aviation, told the Warrior Maven in a statement.

Some weapons, possibly including Hydra 2.75-inch folding fin laser guided missiles or a .50-cal and 7.62 mm rifles, fired as a proof of concept, Burns said.

“Further research would need to be done to ensure that we could properly integrate,” she added.

All the weapons in consideration already dismissed in the fight against a particular type of aircraft, however, additional testing and evaluation of weapons and their support systems are necessary to allow the integration to the next step.

“We want to arm the MV-22B, because there is a hole in the escort possibilities. With the right weapons and related systems, armed MV-22Bs will be able to escort other fish Eagles, the running of the traditional staff, transport role,” Burns added.

The Hydra 2.75 inch rockets, the so-called Advanced Precision Weapons Kill System (APKWS), fired in the struggle on a range of Army and Marine Corps helicopters; they provide an alternative for a larger Hellfire missiles with smaller, fast-moving targets need to be attacked with less chance of damage to an environment.

Through the years, the weapon is fired from an AH-64 Apache, Marine, Fire Scout Drones, Marine Corps UH-1Ys, A-10s, the MH-60s helicopters and Air Force F-16’s, among others.

Bell-Boeing has designed a special designation on the side of the aircraft to ensure normal weapons transport. The Corps is now considering to ask if the necessary stand-off distance and the degree of lethality.

Adding weapons to the Osprey, of course, would allow the aircraft to better defend itself should come under attack from small arms fire, missiles, or surface missiles, while performing transport missions; in addition, precision fire will enable the Osprey to support amphibious operations with oppressive or offensive fire, the Marines approach enemy territory.

In addition, the weapons an Osprey-centric tactic known as “Mounted Vertical Maneuver” in which the tilt rotor makes use of its aircraft and helicopter, hover, and maneuver technology to the transport of weapons such as mobile mortars and light vehicles, supplies, and Marines behind enemy lines for a range of missions — to surprise attacks.

Also, while the armament of the Osprey is primarily focused on the support of escort and maneuver activities, there are without a doubt a few fight of the commitments in the plane could easily find themselves in while conducting missions.

For example, an armed Osprey would be in a better position to prevent or stop swarming small boat attack, which enemy surface ships attacked the plane. An Osprey with weapons would also be able to thwart enemy ground attacks, Rpg’s, MANPADS or small arms fire.

Finally, given the fast pace of the marine Corps and Navy amphibious operations strategy development, armed Ospreys can support of amphibious attacks by the transport of Marines to fight in wider strips of the combat areas.

New Osprey Intelligence System – Support 2060

Generally, the Marine Corps is accelerating a massive modernization and readiness review of the MV-22 Osprey to upgrade sensors, the adding of weapons, the preservation of the fleet and broaden the mission scope — as part of an effort to extend the life of the aircraft until 2060.

“We plan to use the MV-22B Osprey for at least the next 40 years,” Burns said.

While the first emerging nearly two decades ago, the Osprey tilt rotor aircraft has seen an unprecedented increase in the deployment of the mission, the scope and operational tempo.

Other elements of Osprey modernization are: improved sensors, mapping and digital connectivity, greater speed and hover ability, the better the load and capacity of the next-generation avionics and new survivability systems to defend against incoming missiles and small arms fire.

The 2018 Marine Aviation Plan indicates that the CC-RAM program contains more than 75 V-22 aircraft configurations, identified by a completed Mv-22 Operational Independent Readiness Review. CC-RAM calls for improvements to the Osprey’s Multi-Spectral Sensor, computer system, infra-red suppressor technology, generators, and landing gear control units, the aviation plan provides.

As part of this long-term Osprey modernisation of the route, the Marines are now the integration of a Command and Control system called Digital Interoperability (DI). This makes use of data links, radio connectivity, and an Iridium Antenna to provide combat-relevant intelligence data, and C4ISR-information in real-time to the Marines – in-flight on a mission.

In addition, the Osprey is designed as a tanker aircraft able to perform aerial refueling missions; the idea is to allow the transport of fuel and the use of a probe technology to provide fuel for the test aircraft such as an F/A-18, F-35C. The V-22 Aerial Refueling System will also be able to refuel other aircraft such as the CH-53E/K, AV-8B Harrier jet and the other V-22s, Corps officials said.

“The handling of the complete system that will be suitable in 2019. This system will be able to fill up of all of the MAGTF (Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force aerial refueling capable aircraft with about 10,000 pounds of fuel per VARS-equipped V-22,” the 2018 Marine Aviation Plan states.

Because of the tilt rotor configuration, the Osprey can hover in the helicopter mode for close-in monitoring and vertical supply such matters as the supply of troops, equipment and supplies – while I was able to make the transition to the airplane mode and the hit fixed-wing aircraft speeds. This gives the unit an opportunity to travel up to 450 nautical miles to and from a location on a single tank of fuel, Corps officials said. The Osprey can hit maximum speed of 280 Knots, and can transport a crew of the Navy or a few Marines with a Internal Transport of the Vehicle.

Corps developers also emphasize that the f-22 modernization effort will incorporate new technologies in the pipeline of the fast-moving Future Vertical Lift program; this would likely include the integration of new lightweight composite materials, the next generation of sensors and different types of weapons, C4ISR systems, and targeting technology.

Quick iterations of Artificial Intelligence is probably also a prominent figure in the future V-22 upgrades. This could include more sophisticated algorithms that can organize and present data from sensors, targeting information, or navigation data for Marines in the flight.

While the modernization and sustainment review bring the promise of continued relevance and combat effectiveness for the Opsrey, the effort is of course not without challenges. The Corps plan, citing concerns about the possibility for good maintenance of the depot supply chain capability to the platform in a timely manner, and many over the years have raised the question of how much of a legacy platform can be upgraded for a new model is needed.

It is interesting that, as is the case with the Air Force’s B-52 and Chinook Army, that a wide range of upgrades have kept the platforms, functional and relevant for a modern threat environment for decades. The air force plans to fly the Vietnam era B-52 bomber weill in the 2050s, and the Army of the Chinook is slated to fly for 100 years, from 1960 to 2060 — according to the service modernisation experts and program managers.

The red thread here is that the airframes themselves, while often in need of improvements and reinforcements, often remain viable if not very effective for decades. The Osprey, therefore, by comparison, is much newer than the B-52 or a Chinook, to be sure. This is a major reason why Burns emphasized the “ordinary” aspect of CC-RAM, as the idea is to lay the technical foundation so that the existing platform can quickly embrace new technologies as they arise. This approach, on a large scale mirrored these days in the DoD acquisition community, strives to architect systems based on a set of common, non-proprietary standards in such a way that it helps to establish a new, more efficient paradigm for the modernisation.

At the same time, there is also a broad consensus that there are limits to how much existing platforms can be modernized for a new unit, this is a major reason why the Army is now powerful immersed in the Future Vertical Lift program, which, among other things, is currently busy with the promotion of a new generation of tilt rotor technology. Furthermore, there are new designs of shell may in many respects be better adapted to the advent of new weapons, C4ISR technologies, sensors, security systems, and avionics. The contours and structure of a new hull could also bring new radar signature reducing properties as well as the new mission and the crew options.

Generally, the Marine Corps is accelerating a massive modernization and readiness review of the MV-22 Osprey to upgrade sensors, the adding of weapons, the preservation of the fleet and broaden the mission scope — as part of an effort to extend the life of the aircraft until 2060.

“We plan to use the MV-22B Osprey for at least the next 40 years,” Capt. Sarah Burns, Marine Corps Aviation spokeswoman, told the Warrior Maven.

While the first emerging nearly two decades ago, the Osprey tilt rotor aircraft has seen an unprecedented increase in the deployment of the mission, the scope and operational tempo.

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