The future of Carrier Onboard Delivery will be the MV-22. Navy officials recently ran operational tests onboard the USS Carl Vinson to see how the Osprey fits in the carrier environment.

Goodbye Greyhound, hello Osprey.

The fleet’s logistic workhorse has been the C-2 Greyhound since the 1960’s.  But with the Navy awarding Bell-Boeing a joint contract to begin design of a Navy MV-22 variant, the recent focus has been on how to integrate the Osprey into the carrier flight operations.

The Navy recently used four MV-22B aircraft in “proof of concept” testing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. Three of the Ospreys were from Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 from Quantico, Va., and the fourth was from the Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) MCAS Yuma, AZ.

The first challenge:  figuring out how to get the aircraft onboard without it being too disruptive to fixed wing operations.

“We are just kind of scratching the surface in how we’ll use this platform,” said Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker, Naval Air Forces commander.

The tilt rotor aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities will operate as a helicopter around the carrier. This is opposite of its fixed wing predecessor.

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The C-2 Greyhound comes in for a straight in approach, traps and then parks. The Osprey will approach like a helicopter, land, refuel and then takeoff again.

Acting like a helicopter provides the Air Boss with more options on how to run the flight deck, according to CDR Lucas Kadar, Carl Vinson Air Boss.

“It brings us flexibility and options. It’s easier from a flight deck point of view to operate with the MV-22… We don’t have to go into fixed-wing flight ops,” said Kadar.

Being able to launch regardless of the flight deck status is helpful for several reasons, including the ability to continue maintenance for topside aircraft. An additional feature is the Osprey’s ability to quickly transform in to a fixed wing aircraft once airborne. The increased speed in fixed wing mode means the MV-22 can make logistical runs to the beach faster than a conventional helicopter.

An MV-22 Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 approaches for a touch-and-go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson is underway conducting Precision Approach Landing System (PALS) and flight deck certification. US Navy photo PO3 George Bell
An MV-22 Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 approaches for a touch-and-go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). US Navy photo PO3 George Bell

The concern with integration of the MV-22 Osprey is how long the aircraft remains on the deck. Recovering the MV-22 will require fixed wing operations to come to a halt. Fixed wing fighters may need to recover to the carrier because of fuel considerations.

Reducing the time available to recover fixed wing aircraft could be problematic.

“It becomes how fast can you offload the Ospreys to get fuel and put the people back on so it can be off the flight deck, and then I’ll deal with the rest,” said Lt. Cmdr. Reynaldo Stanley, the flight deck handler. “The impact is on deck time.”

Shoemaker said the Navy expects to reach initial operational capability (IOC) in fiscal 2021. The first detachment of MV-22’s would deploy during 2022.

“We’ll do it very similar to how we are set up now with the C-2 community,” he said, with east and west coast-based squadrons providing V-22 dets to carriers.

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It probably doesn’t matter to sailors onboard the aircraft carrier how the MV-22 operates. As long as the mail, spare parts, and the occasional fried chicken and pizza delivery keeps coming–they will be happy.

You can read Gidget Fuentes full article here.

Top Photo: A MV-22B Osprey, from Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, prepares to lift off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). The V-22 Osprey is being tested, evaluated and is slated to be planned replacement for the C-2A Greyhound as the singular logistics platform on an aircraft carrier for future carrier on-board delivery operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Castellano/Released)