The USAF's CV-22B Ospreys are the most capable combat search and rescue and tactical special operations transports ever devised. The video below, shot by CV-22 crews themselves, shows them in action like never before.
The USAF's CV-22B Ospreys fixed-wing aircraft-esque range and speed opens up a whole new envelope for special forces insertion and extraction missions that traditional helicopters could simply not achieve. To help them with these incredibly challenging missions, they are packed with specialized technologies including terrain following radar, satellite communications, advanced radar jammers, laser infrared countermeasures, helmet mounted displays, forward looking infrared, radar warning receivers, data links and much more to help them get into and out of highly defended enemy airspace safely. Yet their most important asset are the highly trained and mission focused crews who operate them.
The V-22 program has been very controversial from the start. But the special operations missions and the combat search and rescue role, where every minute wasted lessens the chances of snatching a pilot or other high-value person out of the enemies clutches alive, few would argue that tilt-rotor capability is not worth every penny.
Since their introduction into service less than a decade ago, the USAF's fleet of 50 CV-22s have been highly active all over the globe, from the Pacific to Afghanistan to the Horn of Africa. Considering that many of their most heroic missions happen in the shadows and remain classified for years, we will likely never really know just how big of impact these incredible aircraft and their crews have made on world events and national security, although few would doubt that it is substantial.
Photos via DoD
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.comr