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Author Topic: Miramar Base to Get Osprey Squadrons  (Read 4322 times)

Offline tigershark

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Miramar Base to Get Osprey Squadrons
« on: March 20, 2008, 01:33:07 AM »
Miramar Base to Get Osprey Squadrons

By CHELSEA J. CARTER, Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

(03-18) 18:15 PDT SAN DIEGO, (AP) --

Several new squadrons of the V-22 Osprey, an aircraft nearly scrapped because of its troubled past, will be permanently based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar starting in 2010, officials said Tuesday.

The Osprey, which takes off vertically like a helicopter and flies like a plane, replaces some squadrons of the CH-46 Sea Knight, a 39-year-old assault helicopter used in the Vietnam War.

The Osprey, which can travel twice as fast and three times farther than the Sea Knight, is equipped with radar, lasers and a missile defense system. Each can carry 24 Marines into combat.

Built by Boeing Co. and Bell, a unit of Textron Inc., the Osprey program was nearly scrapped after a history of mechanical failures and two test crashes that killed 23 Marines in 2000.

In February, a group of 40-plus Ospreys at the Marine Corps' New River Air Station in North Carolina was grounded for several days after a faulty chip was discovered in a new Osprey being tested in Texas. The circuit lets three flight control computers back up each other.

There will be about 10 to 15 Ospreys per squadron based at Miramar. It was not immediately clear how many personnel would accompany the new aircraft, said Marine Maj. Jason Johnston.

Johnston said the Osprey squadrons, which include squadrons already based at New River, next to Camp Lejeune, are among the first introduced by the Marine Corps since the Harrier. An Osprey squadron, dubbed the "Thunder Chickens," also has been deployed to Iraq.

The military plans to eventually operate 458 Ospreys, with 360 for the Marine Corps and the others used by the Navy and Air Force.

Each Osprey costs about $100 million when factoring in research and development expenses.



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