After three successful combat
deployments over more than 19 consecutive months, Marine Corps
MV-22 Ospreys will begin a global deployment with the 22nd Marine
Expeditionary Unit, a senior Marine aviation official said
"The Marine Corps views these first three deployments of the
Osprey into combat as marvelously successful," Lt. Gen. George J.
Trautman III, deputy commandant of aviation, said during a "DoD
Live" bloggers roundtable.
"The aircraft completed every assigned mission, and it did so
flying faster, farther, and with safer flight profiles than any
other assault support aircraft in the history of military
While in Iraq, the Osprey flew thousands of missions, impressing
those who flew in it with its speed and range, Trautman said.
"The way the Osprey collapsed the battle space in al Anbar -- in
fact, indeed throughout all of Iraq -- is really something that
amazed those who saw it perform," he said. "The aircraft has
tremendous range, and [impressive] speed with which it moves around
the operational area." For example, Trautman said one of his
commanders told him that when the Osprey arrived in Iraq, it turned
his battle space from the size of Texas into the size of Rhode
Island. The Osprey's speed and range, Trautman said, means a lot
more support for Marines on the ground.
"Marine aviation exists to support the warfighter -- the Marine
on the ground, the soldier in distress -- and the Osprey offers the
warfighter a tremendous advantage over the enemy, and it also
offers an incredible increase in capability for our commanders."
While the MV-22 is being deployed only with the 22nd MEU right now,
Trautman said every MEU will have an Osprey squadron in the
"As the transition from our legacy CH-46s to MV-22s continues,
every subsequent MEU from the East Coast is going to deploy ...
Ospreys, and this will have a very important effect on those
combatant commanders that we support," he said. Though the Osprey
has faced some challenges and there is still much to learn from the
deployments to Iraq, Trautman said, plans call for sending one
squadron to Afghanistan later this year.
"We understand that Afghanistan is a harsh environment,
especially a harsh environment on aircraft," he said. "But we're
incredibly confident that having the Osprey in that environment is
going to pay dividends for our forces." Trautman added that several
different weapons and weapons systems have been mounted to the
Osprey, and that officials are discussing other options.
"We're going to increase the capability of the ramp-mounted
weapon system to take up to a .5- caliber machine gun for heavier
firepower should we need it," he said. Also, the Air Force Special
Operations Command has developed a smaller-caliber weapon that can
provide 360-degree quadrant coverage, the general added. [ANN
Salutes Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Selby, American Forces