Osprey Ready For Combat

Air Force Special Operation Command’s CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft has been cleared to conduct combat operations worldwide, if called upon. “It can do the job,” AFSOC spokesman Don Arias told the Daily Report yesterday in confirming that AFSOC had reached the initial operational capability milestone for the platform earlier this month. He said Hurlburt’s 8th Special Operations Squadron now has six CV-22s at its disposal that are ready for operations. Wired magazine’s Danger Room blog first reported the milestone yesterday. The CV-22 is designed for long-range infiltration, extraction, and resupply. It can fly much farther and faster than the now-retired MH-53 helicopters that it replace. As a run-up to IOC, AFSOC sent four CV-22s to West Africa’s Trans-Saharan region last November to participate in a joint military exercise called Operation Flintlock that Mali hosted. AFSOC officials said the Ospreys’ performance was impressive. The command’s current program of record calls for acquiring 50 CV-22s by around the middle of next decade. The Marine Corps version of the Osprey, the MV-22, has already served in Iraq and is being considered for duty in Afghanistan. (For more on the CV-22, read Finally, the Osprey.)