CV-22 Osprey grounded. Billion dollar equipment can’t fly

The problems with the American CV-22 Osprey rotors are in sight. This time the trouble was reported by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The possibility of a clutch failure caused the equipment of the American specialists to be grounded.

CV-22B Osprey is an innovative machine – it is mass-produced and used on a mass scale rotorcraft. It looks like an airplane whose engines along with large propellers are placed at the very tips of the wings.

The key feature of the Osprey is the ability to change the position of the engines and propellers – after placing them vertically (or at a selected angle), the machine changes from an airplane to a helicopter. Importantly, changes can be made during the flight, while the machine is in the air.

A hybrid of an airplane and a helicopter

In theory, this allows you to combine the advantages of an airplane and a helicopter, i.e. high speed and range with the possibility of vertical take-off and landing. The CV-22B Osprey can fly at a speed exceeding 500 km / h, and its ferrying range reaches almost 4.5 thousand. km. Weighing 14 tons, the machine can transport a significant load – its weight when transported in the hold reaches 9 tons, and when suspended under the hull, it is approx. 6 tons.

In practice, this avant-garde design, despite spending over 50 billion dollars and over 30 years of development, still causes many problems.

CV-22B Osprey – clutch problems

The most recent of them is a faulty operation of the drive system, namely the clutch in the transmission, connecting the engine with the rotor. In the last 6 weeks, there were two incidents with incorrect operation of this element. Although no one was injured, and the command praises the professionalism of the pilots who coped with the emergency, AFSOC – the command special operations Air Force – decided to freeze flights in the Ospreys.

The same (in terms of construction, because there are differences in equipment) rotors also uses Marine Corps and the navy, which, however, decided not to abandon the use of Ospreys in their current service.

The problem has been known for years

Perhaps this is a result of the specificity of missions carried out by AFSOC machines, which – as equipment for special forces – more often fly lower and perform more risky maneuvers, where the margin of error is lower.

The result of the actions taken is, however, that some special forces cannot take advantage of the Osprey benefits. American sources indicate that the fault was first detected and reported in 2010. Since then, there have been ten failures, but the manufacturer has so far not found a solution that would eliminate the problem.

Ɓukasz Michalik, journalist of Wirtualna Polska

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