The Department of Defense is pulling out all the stops during this year’s Emerald Warrior irregular warfare exercise. The most recent training mission involves a late night aerial refueling with an Air Force tilt-rotor CV-22 Osprey caught on a night vision camera.
The tips of each blade on the Osprey are equipped with two small position lights that give flight crew reference during formation flights and ground operators a visual safety queue of the two massive spinning rotor discs. The two LED lights are designed to work with NVG (Night Vision Goggles) and the brightness can be adjusted by the pilots. The dual LEDs can be independently adjusted for different intensity above and below the rotor disc. They also make a great show for night time spectators.
Many military helicopters have a variation of these wingtip lights to aid in formation flying during night ops. They are usually not very bright, just enough to be picked up by night vision gear that the crew use. The long exposure on photos makes them stand out more than is normally seen with the naked eye.
This tilt-rotor air-to-air refueling with a CV-22 Osprey conducted by the 15th Special Operations Squadron is one of many ongoing training missions for the 2015 Exercise Emerald Warrior. Other training endeavors currently ongoing across the country include delivering mobile rockets to a remote dirt strip with C-130 and night fast-rope rappelling with Chilean military in Florida.