Defense Media Network

CV-22 Progress Report

With half the fleet delivered, the aircraft is performing well


Engines: Stirring Dust and Software

The CV-22 engine eats dust and digests it poorly. In the first month of Palenske’s operations in Afghanistan, the squadron changed every engine on every aircraft. The problem was serious enough to bring technicians from the engine maker, Rolls-Royce, to Afghanistan. They discovered a couple of things, changed a part, and brought some fixes on the engine programming software. They changed the procedures and water content used on engine washes, making the washes more effective at cleaning engine compressor sections. They installed new intakes for the oil coolers that kept them from clogging in the dust. Then, they loaded new software into the engine programs, allowing greater exhaust temperatures, increasing the aircraft’s airspeed by 20 knots and giving some altitude improvements.

Lt. Col. Darryl Sheets, the AFSOC CV-22 standardization pilot, said the fixes so far haven’t increased the aircraft’s hover capability in helicopter mode. Since the engines are software controlled, new programs can be designed and tested fairly easily. He said there are software fixes now in the works that could give 250 more pounds of load and a possible increase in power, which will affect all mission scenarios and altitude capability. Full testing and development will take about six months before it can be fully ready for the fleet with all details of how it affects performance.


Looking Ahead

CV-22 Osprey Deployed to Afghanistan

A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey from the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla., flies a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan on April 28, 2010. U.S. Army photo

During the next year, the CV-22 will close in on its desired 80 percent in-commission rates, even in desert environments. It will also have people maintaining it and flying it with more experience and more ideas on how better to maintain it and to fly it. AFSOC will be opening the first operational CV-22 squadron overseas, and the fleet will be at 28 or 29 AFSOC aircraft. Maj. Gen. Mark Clark, the chief of staff at USSOCOM and also a past Marine helicopter and MV-22 commander, said that the CV-22s are doing great work and changing the way some things are done. He said that the AFSOC crews are doing very well and the units they support are calling for more, but it’s not yet known how far it can go.

“The CV-22 is new,” he said. “It isn’t a helicopter and it isn’t an airplane. Most of the people using it right now are used to helicopters and airplanes, and they use it like it was one of those aircraft. When we have people who have been in V-22s all of their careers and they are in charge of approving mission plans and designs, then we’ll see more creativity in how it’s used and in what it can do.”

This article was first published in The Year in Special Operations: 2012-2013 Edition.

Prev Page 1 2 3 4 Next Page


Maj. Gen. Richard Comer (USAF-Ret) spent 32 years on active duty, 17 of which were...