The V-22 Osprey made headlines after it landed in Kenyatta University. Students were excited but the media pretended to know more about the chopper hence many articles and photos covered the social networks with different opinions about the helicopter’s capabilities. So how special is the V-22 Osprey?
The helicopter is unlike any aircraft in the world. It is a joint service multirole combat aircraft utilizing tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, it can convert to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. This combination results in global reach capabilities that allow the V-22 to fill an operational niche unlike any other aircraft. In short it’s the fastest helicopter and can land anywhere.
The V-22 is is powered by two Rolls-Royce T406/AE 1107C-Liberty turboshaft engines, each rated at 6,150 shp. The V-22 has graphite/fiberglass rotor blades and a composite/metal airframe. By structural weight, the V-22 is 40% composite.
Despite of it being so powerful engine-wise, the plane can carry up to 24 troops and 9070 kg of internal cargo. The most amazing feature of the V-22 is that it’s is designed to fly 2,100 miles with one in-flight refueling, thus providing the advantage of a vertical and short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) aircraft that can rapidly self-deploy to any location in the world.
The V-22 originates from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Joint-service Vertical take-off/landing Experimental (JVX) aircraft program launched in 1981. The Bell Helicopter-Boeing team was awarded a development contract in 1983. The JVX aircraft was designated V-22 Osprey in January 1985. The V-22 first flew on March 19, 1989; however, the complexity and difficulties of designing the Osprey led to many years of testing and developing the aircraft. From October 1992 until April 1993, Bell and Boeing redesigned the V-22 to reduce aircraft weight, simplify production and reduce manufacturing costs.
The V22 is a killing machine which I believe if Kenya buys only one Al Shabab will have to surrender and become humanitarians in Somali. The V-22 Osprey can be equipped with a 7.62 mm M240 machine gun or a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun. Currently, CV-22 and MV-22 Ospreys are being retrofitted with the Interim Defensive Weapon System (IDWS) belly turret from BAE Systems housing a 3-barrel 7.62mm GAU-17 minigun.
The helicopter’s pricing is totally insane. If Kenya procures a single MV-22, it will spend up to $71.92 million. The airframe costs $64.25 million, electronics $1.38 million, and the two AE1107C engines cost $4.62 million ($2.31 million each). Reports AEROWEB.
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