At first glance, you may think the aircraft above is a Transformers robot, but it’s actually the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor military aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability. It combines the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft. Continue reading for more interesting facts.
5. First Production Tiltrotor Aircraft
The Osprey is the world’s first production tiltrotor aircraft, with one three-bladed proprotor, turboprop engine, and transmission nacelle mounted on each wingtip. Once airborne, the nacelles rotate forward 90° in as little as 12 seconds for horizontal flight, converting the V-22 to a more fuel-efficient, higher speed turboprop aircraft. STOL rolling-takeoff and landing capability is achieved by having the nacelles tilted forward up to 45°.Other orientations are possible, such as the “80 Jump” takeoff which uses nacelles at 80° to quickly achieve high altitude and speed
4. Powered by Two Engines
The V-22’s two Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines are connected by drive shafts to a common central gearbox so that one engine can power both proprotors if an engine failure occurs. In the V-22 program, the Navy purchases engines separately from the aircraft themselves. The General Electric GE38 has been considered as a replacement, providing commonality with the CH-53K King Stallion.
3. First Flew in 1989
The team of Bell Helicopter and Boeing Helicopters was awarded a development contract in 1983 for the tiltrotor aircraft. The Bell Boeing team jointly produce the aircraft. The V-22 first flew in 1989, and began flight testing and design alterations; the complexity and difficulties of being the first tiltrotor intended for military service in the world led to many years of development.
2. Has Computerized Damage Control
The V-22 is equipped with a glass cockpit, which incorporates four Multi-function displays and one shared Central Display Unit, to display various images including: digimaps, imagery from the Turreted Forward Looking Infrared System, primary flight instruments, navigation and system status. The aircraft also has computerized damage control that automatically isolates damaged elements.
1. Insane Armament Capabilities
The Osprey can be armed with one .308-caliber NATO M240 machine gun or .50-caliber M2 machine gun on the loading ramp, that can be fired rearward when the ramp is lowered. A .50 in GAU-19 three-barrel Gatling gun mounted below the V-22’s nose was studied for future upgrade. BAE Systems developed a belly-mounted, remotely operated gun turret system for the V-22, named the Interim Defense Weapon System (IDWS). The IDWS is remotely operated by a gunner inside the aircraft, who acquires targets via a separate pod using color television and forward looking infrared imagery.