The nearly 400 V-22 Ospreys, a versatile tiltrotor aircraft prized for its ability to take off and land vertically, will be sidelined from their full range of duties until at least mid-2025. This comes after a series of deadly crashes in 2022 and 2023 raised alarm bells about the aircraft’s safety.

Vice Admiral Carl Chebi, head of the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), announced the limitations during a tense hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability on Wednesday, June 12.

A String of Tragedies

Since its introduction in 2007, the V-22 Osprey has boasted an impressive repertoire. It can take off and land vertically like a helicopter, offering unmatched flexibility for troop deployment and battlefield access.

At the same time, it possesses the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft, making it a valuable asset for long-distance transport and rapid response missions.

However, this versatility comes at a cost.

During the subpanel hearing, Chebi emphasized the safety concerns over the Osprey, stating, “I will not certify the V-22 to return to unrestricted flight operations until I am satisfied that we have sufficiently addressed the issues that may affect the safety of the aircraft.

In just two years, Osprey’s fatal crashes had claimed the lives of 20 service members.

The most recent incident, an Air Force Osprey crash off the coast of Japan in November 2023, killed eight. This tragedy prompted a three-month grounding of all Ospreys before they were allowed back in the air with restricted flight envelopes, limiting their range and capabilities.