418th FLTS Tests CV-22 Terrain-Following Radar in East Coast Fog

7/24/2007 - PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- A CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is operating out of Winchester Regional Airport in Virginia until late August. The Osprey, which can take off like a helicopter then rotate its proprotors forward to cruise like a conventional airplane, will be flying in the mornings using approved military flight routes over the Allegheny Mountains.

Crews from the 418th Flight Test Squadron are taking advantage of foggy early-morning conditions in the mountainous terrain to exercise the CV-22's advanced terrain-following radar. In combat, Air Force Special Operations Command crews will use the CV-22 and its radar to fly low-level insertion and extraction missions for U.S. Special Operations troops in any weather, day or night.

"The V-22 gives us the speed and range we need to conduct our missions in a single period of darkness, where it's safest for us and most dangerous for our enemies," said Army Gen. Doug Brown, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.

Its ability to take off and land vertically in rough terrain gives the Osprey the operational flexibility of a helicopter, but with twice the speed, four times the range and more than twice the altitude. When flying in airplane mode, the Osprey is also 75 percent quieter than conventional helicopters.

The Marine Corps variant of the Osprey, the MV-22, will deploy to Iraq for its combat debut in September. The Air Force version will be ready for combat in 2009. The V-22 operating today is a significant redesign over previous versions, boasting improvements in safety, reliability and mission effectiveness. The Osprey completed a very successful operational evaluation in summer 2005, and was approved for full-rate production that September.

Source: USAF/Edwards AFB Press Release by James Darcy

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