Ospreys Away

Air Force Special Operations Command will start forward deploying some of its CV-22 Ospreys at RAF Mildenhall, England, in Fiscal 2012. The Air Force then will base additional tilt-rotor aircraft in Pacific “over the next couple of years,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, AFSOC boss, during the Four-Star Forum Wednesday afternoon at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. Fiel’s predecessor, Lt. Gen. Donald Wurster, earlier this year, also had indicated that forward basing of AFSOC’s most sophisticated aircraft would take on increasing importance as operations drawdown in Southwest Asia. Fiel continued, “Without having that capability forward it would really hamper those things that we can do.” (As we reported earlier, Osprey producer Bell-Boeing recently submitted a contract proposal for the last V-22s under current plans, including the last seven for AFSOC to bring its total to 50 airframes.)