Coast Guard V-22 look alike cancelled
Coast Guard suspends payments for Bell's Eagle Eye drone project
By BOB COX
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Coast Guard officials have shelved their once-ambitious plan to spend upward of $1 billion on Bell Helicopter's proposed Eagle Eye unmanned aerial vehicle system.
The Coast Guard is still looking for the right unmanned aircraft for long-range surveillance, but Rear Adm. Gary Blore said in an interview Wednesday that the service had decided not to pay Bell for further work on its mini-tilt-rotor UAV.
When the Eagle Eye was selected by the Coast Guard in 2002 as its ship-borne unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, Blore said, service officials thought that the aircraft was nearly ready for production.
Now, Blore said, "we don't see the technology or the production readiness ... where it needs to be" after spending more than $100 million on the program. "It needs a lot of developmental work, and unfortunately we don't have a lot of money for developmental work."
Blore, the Coast Guard's top acquisition officer, said the decision was made easier when he saw how much the Navy has invested -- $500 million to $750 million -- in Northrop Grumman's Fire Scout drone helicopter, which is much further along than Eagle Eye but still isn't production-ready.
"The Coast Guard doesn't have that kind of money," Blore said.
Bell spokesman Mike Cox said that company officials had not been told that the Coast Guard had made a final decision. "It's on our back burner, but we believe in the program. We still think it's a good system."
Bell still has "some people working on the program at a minimal level," Cox said.
What was planned
Coast Guard officials selected the Eagle Eye in 2002 as part of a $12 billion, 20-year program known as Deepwater that aimed to upgrade the service's fleet of cutters, patrol boats and aircraft.
The program was being managed by a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, with Bell being a subcontractor to Lockheed.
The initial plan called for buying 69 Eagle Eye aircraft and 50 control stations, which Bell officials estimated could be worth $1 billion in orders.
Bell developed the Eagle Eye concept -- sort of a miniature V-22 Osprey -- in the mid-1990s under a Navy contract and developed a prototype aircraft that flew some demonstration flights.
What it called for
As proposed for the Coast Guard, the small aircraft -- 17.9 feet long with a wingspan of just 15.9 feet -- would have a single, small turbine engine powering a tilting rotor on the end of each wing. Like the V-22, it could fly faster than a helicopter but land and take off vertically.
The aircraft was to be deployed aboard a new generation of fast, longer-range Coast Guard cutters and would be remotely piloted to patrol wide areas for long periods and inspect ships or other targets. It was to have been equipped with cameras and other surveillance devices that would transmit pictures and data in real time.
Bell was supposed to produce three prototypes for delivery beginning in 2006. But as the Deepwater program ran into delays and budget problems, Coast Guard officials began scaling back and reassessing programs and had not spent much on Eagle Eye in the last couple of years. In October, service officials said they had "frozen" funding while they reassessed the service's requirements for unmanned aircraft.
Steve Zaloga, an analyst specializing in UAVs for the Forecast International aerospace consulting firm, said the Coast Guard's decision is "not so much they're not interested in Eagle Eye as that Deepwater has gotten in deep doo."
Blore said the Coast Guard will take its time to review options for UAVs and will probably consider acquiring either the Fire Scout for use on ships or a land-based drones such as the Predator, which is in use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
BOB COX, 817-390-7723
BAE Systems installs defensive weapon system on CV-22 Osprey
BAE Systems installs defensive weapon system on CV-22 Osprey in preparation for ground-fire and flight testing
JOHNSON CITY, New York — BAE Systems has installed a remotely operated defensive weapon system aboard a U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey in preparation for ground-fire and flight testing. The hardware installation and ensuing fit-check, completed in January, follow the company’s recent selection to develop an interim all-quadrant defensive weapon system for the Osprey.
The U. S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which awarded the contract to integrate and test the weapon mission kit on the CV-22, is currently performing ground testing, with flight testing to follow. SOCOM oversaw the successful installation of the system hardware aboard the aircraft in January at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
“BAE Systems installed the weapon hardware to confirm the system’s suitability to CV-22 and its mission,” said Clark Freise, vice president of defense avionics for BAE Systems. “We will work with SOCOM to complete the development of this system and to demonstrate its effectiveness in protecting these aircraft and the Special Operations forces they carry.”
Using a GAU-2B mini-gun mounted to the belly of the aircraft, the weapon is designed to provide 360 degrees of accurate, sustained suppressive fire throughout the CV-22’s flight envelope. The weapon is based on BAE Systems’ Remote Guardian System™, a company-funded effort to develop a common airborne defensive capability for the V-22 and other special-mission rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. BAE Systems designed the hardware and precision control systems without access to aircraft drawings or solid models, relying in part on its knowledge of the CV-22 as provider of the platform’s flight control system.
BAE Systems has been developing the Remote Guardian System for more than two years and unveiled the system in October 2007 at the Modern Day Marine military exposition in Quantico, Virginia. In January the company announced its selection by SOCOM to provide an interim all-quadrant defensive weapon system solution for the CV-22.
V-22 Defensive Armament
Was there any data on the weight of the gun system and typical ammo load?
420 engine hour average!
V-22 engine trouble may lead to supplier switch
By DAVE MONTGOMERY
Star-Telegram Washington Bureau
So the Osprey engines are lasting around 400 hours fleet-wide, eh? I actually laughed out loud when I read that. At a cost of...how much per unit?
Then I continued laughing. Till I almost started crying.
And now the Marine Corps is now casting their "wide net" to see what *other* 7,000 horsepower turboshaft engines that can operate both horizontally and vertically might be out there? Good luck! How's about...umm...none?
Rolls Royce, for its part very cleverly says that their engines have "met or exceeded" all of the Marine Corp. specifications...if not expectations. Uhhh, but you didn't specify how *long* you wanted the stupid engines to last, and is that *our* fault? Well is it???
And now the Marines are finally and begrudgingly admitting that the Osprey needs a gun...but not only *one* gun but a second gun as well...which means it's going to get even heavier...which means it'll probably need bigger engines...which means the RR people in Indianapolis are probably pulling their hair out and pointing revolvers to their heads at the prospect of trying to get the existing engine up to, say, a 500-hour overhaul interval, much less grow the engine to 7,000 shp.
And so it goes...
An interesting comparison would be the MTBO for the CH-53E....CH-47D engines to the Osprey's dismal 420 hours.
Here we sit with the US Economy and the US Dollar in crisis....as much in part due to the unbelievable national debt and yearly deficit spending, yet our politicians and military will squander untold billions of dollars on projects like the VH-71, V-22, Jacuzzi driven AMTRAC, wars to create the excuse for other new and wasteful projects.
Eisenhower was right when he warned us of the dangers of a runaway military-industrial complex.
This keeps up.....we will be right beside the Russians....trying to figure out how to buy potatoes!:ugh:
Engine TBO for the CH-53E......"By replacing the -416 engine with the -419 in the Marines’ CH-53E Super Stallions, .... Additional savings come from a TBO extension of 3500 to 5000 hours. ...
What's the latest??? How about $10.4 Billion
Yes Gent's THE contract has finally been issued. Congrats to the folks at Boeing and Bell :D.
Cracking video of the Osprey and others, here :ok:
About 6.5mb download.
That really has "Whet my Whistle" as they say, I wonder what it would cost to get that added added to my PPL(H)!:ok:
More ‘FODder’ for the Corps’ plans to re-engine the V-22: looks like the current donks struggle to provide OEI capability in OIF temps.
More V-22 engine problems
V-22 land in 'airplane mode' Gee, that's a nice feature!
Posted on Sat, Jul. 19, 2008
Cause of V-22 engine issue is still unclear
By BOB COX
FARNBOROUGH, England — The Marines Corps’ top aviator has confirmed that the service still isn’t sure what caused an engine problem in an MV-22 Osprey in Iraq last month that forced a precautionary landing well away from the base.
In remarks earlier this week at the Farnborough Air Show, Lt. Gen. George Trautman III, Marine deputy commandant for aviation, said the pilot "did a fantastic job" of bringing the heavily loaded aircraft to a safe landing.
The incident, first reported on star-telegram.com this week, occurred shortly after the aircraft took off June 21 with 20 Marines and a full load of fuel aboard.
According to an internal Marine memorandum, the pilots found that the right-hand engine on the tilt-rotor aircraft would only generate about 60 percent of the required power, and they were unable to maintain altitude, even though the second engine was performing at full power.
Trautman said the flight crew decided to make a "precautionary landing in a field" and were able to hover close to ground and make a vertical landing.
At the time of the mission, Trautman said, temperatures in the region were about 104 degrees.
The incident raises questions about why the pilot didn’t simply return to base. The V-22, once airborne and flying airplane mode, is required to be able to fly and maintain altitude after the complete loss of power in one engine.
An interconnecting drive shaft links the two prop-ro- tors on the aircraft so that it can be powered by one engine. In the worst case, if a pilot is unable to hover after loss of an engine — which could prove impossible depending on the weight of the aircraft, temperature and altitude — the pilot could make an emergency run-on landing in airplane mode.
Trautman said the Marines still don’t know exactly what was wrong with the engine.
According to the internal memorandum, obtained by the Star-Telegram, an inspection showed possible damage to the engine compressor blades from foreign objects. But there was also an indication that the engine combustion liner was breaking up and pieces had further damaged other engine parts.
The memo warned that the engine problem could have resulted in an accident or the aircraft being forced to land in enemy territory and the possible loss of personnel.
Trautman downplayed reports that the Marines were unhappy with the reliability of the Allison/Rolls Royce turbine engines, saying they were performing about as well in the heat and dust of Iraq as other helicopter engines.
Lt. Col. Paul Ryan, now commanding officer of VMM-263 Marine squadron, said he was pleased with the reliability of the Ospreys. Ryan said the squadron maintained about a 70 percent mission-capable rate, meaning that on average seven of its 10 aircraft was available for missions at any given time. The aircraft were operated about 65 hours per month and required less than 10 hours of maintenance for every flight hour, an indication that maintenance and repair requirements were relatively normal.
BOB COX, 817-723-7493
Couple of questions:
I don't know how the power is controlled in the V-22, but does the blottle have a trim switch with enough range to "beep one back" to 60% Q?
...Or, is the technology good enough now that the computers can manage such a big split in available power?
Did they pull the bad one back to idle? (I'd bet real money they did.)
Okay, so given the fact that they say they could not maintain level flight, and they say they couldn't make it back to base, and they say that they made a normal vertical landing, there is only one conclusion that can be made.
Someone is lying.
We don't know the real story and probably won't ever. The Marines won't ever admit anything bad about their beloved V-22.
Two other interesting tidbits. I love the way Trautman says that the V-22 engines are performing "about as well" as other helicopter engines. That's pretty coy. (Hey Trautman, got that overhaul interval up to 500 hours yet?) But then Ryan tells us they have only 70% availability on any given day??? Jeez, what's causing all the downtime? Only 65 hours per month (2.1 per day) and 10:1 maintenance to flight, huh? Suuuuuuure. The numbers don't add up. Is MD or EADS supplying the spare parts? What's the problem with availability?
And hey, go back to the video hosted on Eacott's site.
1:08 Love the barrel roll!
1:12 The XV-3! Shades of 1960!
2:56 Check out the dusty landing by a single V-22. Yikes! Holy downwash, Batman!
Sometimes I think that people are in love with the V-22 because it just looks so damn cool and impressive. But you know what? That ain't enough, folks.
70% availability for an aircraft that is being flown 65 hours per month......try that in the civlian world and survive?
That doesn't take in the fact the aircraft were "cherry picked" to ensure all major maintenance inspections would not take place during the deployment of the unit.
The Osprey is said to be "comparable" in that regard to other USMC aircraft availability rates.
What's all the fuss about engines?
Remember that Bell says:
"Bell spokesman Bob Leder said compressor stalls in such engines were "really nothing."
"These kind of engine problems are very normal, not only within military aircraft, but in commercial aircraft," he said.
Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Business News | Dallas Morning News
Not another "Gee, what a surprise."
V-22 Osprey Fails in Iraq.
V-22s Fail in Iraq
The V-22 issues go back a far as I can remember. In the early 1990s a Marine Heavy Lift Squadron in California planned an un-refueled flight from Tustin CA. to Quantico VA in a CH-53E. The aircraft was equipped with multiple Robertson 800 gallon internal fuel tanks and crew oxygen to permit flight at higher flight levels to take advantage of the winter jet stream. The flight was planned and ready for departure when Gen H. Blot, CG 3rd MAW and of Blottle fame cancelled the flight quoting I will not permit any CH-53 flight that could compromise the capabilities of the V-22. Up until then the V-22 could only be compared the CH-46, the aircraft it was to replace.
A year later a Navy MH-53 flew 720 NM, un-refueled from Patuxent River MD to West Palm Beach FL carrying 8000 lbs. of cargo in 7.5 hours. Again this flight went unrecognized by Marine Corp management.
I am sure there are many similar stories. The sad part is that the Marines on the ground operate day to day with air support far inferior to what they require and deserve. With all of the politics, who is presently watching out for them and who if any has stepped up to apologize for those who have tragically made the supreme sacrifice in the name of this program.:(
Some of this overexaggerated mumbo-jumbo being put out by the press is getting kind of aggrivating. Iraq is an absolutely horrible place to work a helicopter, especially in wartime conditions... and NOT just for the V22! IE:
"didn't mention the squadron had a dozen highly experienced Boeing tech reps to help Marines fix things"
We had dozens of tech reps for our H-60s, from Sikorsky, GE, and AMCOM. We have a tech rep with us when we are stationed at home, as well. This is not out of the ordinary at all... especially with a new airframe! Any time we get a new piece of wiring or sensor or anything, we get a tech rep or two for many months, just to make sure things are working right, and help us figure out the tough problems. Considering the most experienced V22 mechanic in the Marines has only been actively working on the ship for a few years, tech reps are absolutley required.
Not to mention the 100 or so contract mechanics we had supporting us.
"He said the V-22s engines wore out too fast and lacked the power needed by the V-22"
"He admitted that six engines had already been replaced, and later indicated that all engines will likely be replaced after less than seven months in Iraq"
Nobody has all the power they need in 65C + temps. We ran out of juice all the time, and would have killed for bigger engines, but so did EVERYONE! The poor OH-58 helicopters would skid across the tarmac with an hour worth of fuel, a couple hundred rounds for the gun, and 3 rockets... but they were very effective with that! Everyone would love more power, but its not really possible in those conditions.
Also, we replaced about a dozen engines on a dozen aircraft in a year and a half. Not to mention the engines that were swapped out during major maintenance. The sand out there kills engines, so does using them to their limits every day. Once again, nothing new for aircraft that are used down in the dirty.
"OVER THE PAST 9 MONTHS V-22 BLOCK A AIRCRAFT READINESS HAS BEEN AN AVERAGE OF 47.8% MISSION CAPABLE AND 34.9% FULL MISSION CAPABLE WHILE BLOCK B AIRCRAFT READINESS HAS BEEN ON AVERAGE 79.3% MISSION CAPABLE AND 62.1% FULL MISSION CAPABLE."
First deployment of a new type of aircraft, and it's doing damn good. We usually had 75-83% mission capable, with a "proven" and "dependable" aircraft. That includes an established spare parts and supply chain, and loads of experienced people there to jump on problems.
As for the guns -- I've never flown around iraq with a machine gun, and never had a problem. We couldn't carry them, so we planned around not having them... it is not the optimum fix, but in the grand scheme of things, you don't always have to have a gun to defend yourself. However, if we did have machine guns, I would have traded them away in a HEARTBEAT for 100kts more airspeed.
The damn things are having problems, but its a brand new aircraft type, and category! Maybe the thing will never do combat assaults into the hottest of LZs, but if people start thinking outside of the box and using different aircraft for missions they suit properly, we'd find that the V22 actually has a lot of use, just not for everything. God knows the Helicopter is not the perfect platform for a lot of the things we are using them for, so lets find more options like the tiltrotor and use them for what they are best at.
Just my opinion.
Never going into "hot" LZ's is not necesarily a bad thing.....unless the guys on the ground are looking for a way out of the serious poo.
Sometimes you just have to stick yer neck out in meeting your basic mission requirement....that being supporting the Grunts out there who are going nose to nose with the bad guys.
In that process they sometimes get hurt and the helicopter, errrr...excuse me....the CH-46 helicopter replacement....will have to earn it's keep by going right down there amongst the bad guys to fetch some poor infantry soldier from Death's Door. (Or does the tilt rotor crowd see themselves above that kind of thing and only operate to "cold" LZ's.....)
Am I seeing a good question for the Osprey PR guys....that being....as the Osprey is replacing the Phrog (CH-46)....does that mean the Osprey will now take over the Combat Medavac mission or will that evolve to either the CH-53 Helicopter or the UH-1N Helicopter?
Now if the USMC were to find itself buying some UH-60L's....for Combat Medavac that would tell the tale.
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