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  • Tilt-Rotor For Obama, Super Stallions Go To War
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 12:57 PM on Apr 18, 2011

    You can't count me among the major fans of the V-22 tilt-rotor. It's a great machine if you need to go 250-300 or more miles out and back to pick up a small payload and there is no runway. Otherwise it's a heavy and expensive way to do a helicopter mission.

    However, I'm still at a loss to comprehend last week's news.

    HMX-1, the Quantico-based Marine squadron that operates Marine One and supports the White House, is to get 14 MV-22Bs. The Osprey fans predictably see this as a ringing endorsement.

    Except -- the reason that the V-22 is going to HMX-1 is to replace the squadron's CH-53E Super Stallions, used for transporting the White House staff, Secret Service and White House press corps. Those aircraft are not being retired -- they are urgently needed for combat support in Afghanistan. (It is so urgent that HMX-1 will get CH-46s until the V-22s are ready.) The need is all the deeper because the Marines' CH-53s are ageing rapidly and the replacement CH-53K is three years behind schedule.

    So unless someone can explain otherwise, it looks as though the combat forces find the CH-53E, designed in the days of disco and delivered in the 1980s, more valuable than the Dream Machine.

    Tags: ar99, v-22, usmc

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