The V-22: Exemplar of Transformation

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(Washington, D.C.): On 24 September 2002, the Center for Security Policy, the Heritage Foundation and the Potomac Institute co-hosted a most timely and topical Roundtable Discussion on the subject of “The V-22: Exemplar of Transformation or Its Next Casualty?”

The Roundtable featured remarks by a number of those most immediately involved in determining the answer to that question, including: General James L. Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps; General William L. Nyland, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps; Lieutenant General Paul Hester, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command; Major General David H. Huntoon, Director of Strategy, Plans & Policy, United States Army; Major General John J. Batbie Jr., Vice Commander, U.S. Air Force Reserve; Major General Michael Hough, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation; Col. Dan Schultz USMC, V-22 Program Manager; Mr. Tom MacDonald, Chief Test Pilot, V-22 Program; and Major Generals (Ret.) Hugh Cox and Jack Fenimore, former Adjutants General, respectively, of Alaska and New York.

The Roundtable established unequivocally that the Osprey is, in fact, a quintessen tially transformational technology. It also demonstrated the broadly based congressional support that exists for realizing the full potential of this technology, both to support the sorts of missions the U.S. military will have to undertake in the 21st Century and for a host of other applications. Among the senior legislators who addressed the Roundtable were: Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), Chairman, House Appropriations Committee; Rep. Martin Frost (D- TX), Democratic Caucus Chairman; Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA), Chairman, House Armed Services Military Procurement Subcommittee; Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC), Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Installations and Facilities; Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), members of the House Armed Services Committee; and Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

In addition, the Roundtable received a most impressive briefing of a study recently completed by the ANSER Corporation that demonstrated conclusively — as have myriad previous government and independent analyses — that the V-22 is by far the most effective and affordable alternative for meeting the immediate needs of the Marine Corps and Special Operations forces. The ANSER study showed that tiltrotor technology would have greatly enhanced the military operations that liberated Afghanistan and would be of considerable value in future actions requiring long-range, swift and stealthy power projection of ground forces.

Participants in the Roundtable also discussed the potential application of tiltrotor technology to such activities as search and rescue, homeland security, emergency response to the use of weapons of mass destruction and commercial aviation. With respect to the last, Captain Dennis Eckenrod, a former Chief Pilot for American Airlines, described the potentially transforming effect of V-22 derivatives on the civil air transportation industry.

Given the extraordinary contribution tiltrotor technology is poised to make to the U.S. military and the Nation as a whole, it was heartening to participants to hear that the truly transformational character of this technology appears now to be appreciated by key Pentagon decision-makers such as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Pete Aldridge and Program Analysis and Evaluation Director Steve Cambone, each of whom has recently visited the V-22 test facility at Patuxent River.

Click here for the proceedings of the V-22 Roundtable Discussion.

Center for Security Policy

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