A CV-22B Osprey prepares for a tilt-rotor air-to-air refueling during operations over Sweden, Nov. 13, 2020.
For all its controversy, the CV-22b is a pretty incredible piece of aviation technology. For one, it’s the world’s very first production tiltrotor aircraft. Classified as a powered lift aircraft by the FAA, the Osprey utilizes its pair of three-bladed proprotors to lift off vertically before rotating them into position for horizontal flight.
The transmission nacelles — essentially the proprotor cowling and rotation mechanism — can be adjusted to various degrees. This allows the Osprey to have unparalleled Short Take Off and Landing, or STOL, capabilities.
The Osprey has a ferry range of over 2100 nautical miles and an operational range of 1100 nautical miles. They are often armed with an M240 or .50 caliber machine gun on the rear loading ramp. Additionally, it can be fitted with a belly-mounted, remote operated gun turret system dubbed the Interim Defense Weapons System, or IDWS. IDWS is controlled remotely by a gunner who tracks targets via a color screen and forward looking infrared imagery.
Like most strike aircraft, the Osprey can be refueled in midair, dramatically increasing its range and overall lethality.