Ospreys back in action

| March 4, 2024

We all know the V-22 Osprey – the hybrid helicopter tilt-rotor airplane mix which has taken over local airlift for the Marines and some of the Air Force.  Not sure which air machine I have done more articles on, the V-22 or the F-35, but it has to be fairly close.

Services may be heaving a sigh of relief – the Pentagon is lifting flight restrictions on the V-22.  You may remember some of the crashes the notorious tilt-rotor has suffered – most recently killing 8 off the coast of Japan late last year, which caused its grounding. Following a meeting with SecDef Austin Friday:

The officials said that Naval Air Systems Command, which grounded the controversial tilt-rotor aircraft about three months ago, will lift it and allow the services to begin implementing their plans to get the Osprey back into the air. Austin met with the top service leaders, including for the Navy and Air Force, on Friday morning, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss plans not yet made public.

The Osprey has been grounded for almost three months following a Nov. 29 Air Force Special Operations Command crash in Japan that killed eight service members. The Japan incident and an earlier August Osprey crash in Australia that killed three Marines are both still under investigation. The Air Force has said that it has identified what failed in the Japan crash, even though it does not know yet why it failed.

The air frame has suffered from “hard clutch” issues for years. The Air Force at one point grounded their fleet (at the same time the Marines said “we knew of the problem but we cope with it so we won’t ground ours”) but resumed flying. Then after the Japan crash the fleets of the AF, Navy/Marines, and White House fleets (that last flies staffers, reporters etc.) were all grounded.

In the months since, the services have worked on plans to mitigate the known material failure by conducting additional safety checks and establishing a new, more conservative approach to how the Osprey is operated.

Officials said the U.S. military will also share its plans with Japan, which is the only international partner involved in the Osprey program. Japan also grounded its fleet of 14 V-22s after the November crash. Prior to the grounding the U.S. Marine Corps routinely used Ospreys in that county. (sic)

A return to flight is a sensitive topic in Japan, where public opinion on the Osprey is mixed. Officials said the U.S. is committed to a safe process, and the fleet will not fly again there until Japan has had an opportunity to be briefed on the services’ plan.  AP

So the big tilt-rotor is going to be back in the air.

By now, I am sure I am not the only one who noticed: there is not one word saying the problem is actually FIXED.

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Air Force, Marines, Navy

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Nobody got nothing to say? How’d I get to be FIRST to comment? Speaking of “F” words, I, too, notice that the word “Fixed” was not mentioned.

Mick’s previous (and on-going) opinion of this aircraft was all I needed.

My 2 coppers worth? Scrap the damn things and start over. YMMV


As a former Marine Reserve CH-46 mech (later CH-47 in the Army National Guard), that dang Osprey has too many moving parts for my taste. Helos are bad enough. Nice concept, if it works right.


My father served in the 1MAW in 1970-71 at Danang. When traveling via CH-46 that if the crew chief didn’t throw a case of hydraulic fluid on the bird before departure then he got out. Quoting him it had 10,000 hydraulic fittings and all of them leaked.

I hear similar tails about the RAF AEW Shackleton in that it was described as 10,000 rivets flying in close formation.


I was in various aircraft from 05-19 and what I was told (which bolsters your dad’s observations) if the 46 is leaking hydraulic fluid, you were good to go. If the 53 was leaking fluid – get out.


Key word…IF.


Without any discussion of the potential hazards of the thing, what follows is a brief discussion of what they bring to the table. I was on the 31st MEU from 2012-2014. We did did major patrols (the 31st MEU goes out twice a year for shorter deployments called patrols) with Phrogs and 2 with Ospreys. The increase in capability that the Ospreys bring to the table cannot be understated. The distance that power can be projected from the ship is exponential – as well is the speed in which you can do that. I don’t have the stats and it’s too late to be motivated to look for them, but the MV-22 is an absolute game changer. I think that the “must have” meets “0 defect” mentality got a lot of people killed during the development of the thing. As far as safety records go since then, are they really that much worse than other aircraft? I hear about military A/C crashes every now and again (considering the amount of flights per day around the world the small number is really astounding) but they aren’t all Ospreys. I don’t have a stake in Bell or anything, but there might be a little bit of “oh, there they go again” when it comes to those things. When Phrogs crashed, no one looked at as a track-record thing because no one is alive today when those were developed in the 1880s.