2007/04/16

The V-22 "Osprey" - One At Twice The Price

After almost 20 years and a development cost of almost $30 billion dollars, the V-22 Osprey is finally being put into service.

For those of you who don't keep up on military hardware, the V-22 is a "tiltroter" VTOL craft that ascends/descends like a helicopter then rotates its props 90 degrees in flight to fly like an aircraft, an arrangement that many experts have referred to as fundamentally unsound. No matter, after 18 years of delays, funding cuts, program cancellations, funding restorations, groundings, glitches, mechanical failures, design flaws, 5 crashes, and 30 deaths the Marines are sending the unwieldy craft to Iraq.

But regardless of how much action the Osprey sees, it will never justify its staggering cost. Just consider that, at $80 million dollars apiece, each V-22 is four times the cost of the Sikorsky MH-60s Seahawk, an alternative to the Osprey. And sure...the Osprey can do things the Seahawk can't--fly aircraft distances, refuel in flight--but the Seahawk carries the same payload at 1/3 the weight and is armed. The V-22 carries no armaments, so...no combat.

And here's the most sobering statistic. All together the US armed forces only plan to acquire 450 V-22s. So factoring in the program cost you can add another $66 million to the price tag of each unit. That's almost double!

Perhaps the Marines should have named this craft 'The Albatross' rather than 'The Osprey'.

16 Comments:

I hope the copter hybrid likes sand...gears usually don't like sand. These things falling out of the sky won't be a good PR piece for the Military and the Pentagon
Interesting Kvatch. I thought they'd grounded the program awhile back. I guess I'm behind in my reading.

Somewht off subject, I saw something on one of the PBS's, Discovery, Military channels recently that the stealth bomber, B1 or B2?, was built without a bunk in it; and, that when they flew it to Iraq the last time around at about 36 hours per round trip, the pilots went to Walmart to buy a chaise lounge to put behind the cockpit. Got to admit it's more cost effective than the Osprey in that small detail.
The Bush ADDministartion: No boondoggle too exhorbitant for them!
WS... Yeah, I know. Presumably they've tested this thing in desert conditions.

Dave... Grounded twice, defunded at least once. This program has been mess from the start. About the "stealth": That would be the B2.

Lew... Which Bush administration? The first? ;-)
What's the "defense" budget at now? $600 billion?

I say we cut the defense budget to around $25 billion and let the defense contractors figure out how to make an honest living.
This monstrosity must surely symbolise the Bush Presidency: ugly, ineffectual, of no use, and dangerous to be near!

Cheers!
Just something else for the Iraqi resisters to shoot down. And probably a lot easier too.

God Bless.
Say a friend of mine actually made an astute comment - if the Whitehouse believed in the value of this albatross, they would swap it out for Marine 1 ferrying W and pals to and fro, no?
DBK... Maybe they could build plowshares?

Daniel... I love your characterization, but remember that the Osprey was conceived of during Reagan's tenure in office. Of course, your description fits there as well.
AnonP... Much, much, much easier for insurgents to shoot down, but they probably won't get the chance. At $80M a pop, there is no way the Marines will let the V-22s anywhere near a battlefield.

Windspike... That's the most astute thing I've heard about the Osprey so far. Especially given that Marine 1 is a Sikorsky helicopter.
Typical.

Another glass house. Time to throw some more stones.
Defense spending - in the strictest sense - is going to be about 700 billion this year. That's the Pentagon budget plus the supplemental spending bills (2 so far). Of course, there are many more (para-)military items in the budget, in NASA and DHS especially, and some indirect costs (veteran medical "care"). In all, about two thirds to three quarters of the discretionary part of the federal budget is dedicated to "defense".
Praguetwin... I don't think that any of us are going to need to throw stones. The first time one of these babies crashes due to a mechanical glitch, Congress will be ready with the rocks.

Endorendil... It boggles the mind doesn't it. US spending is...what...quintuple what any other country spends?
Indeed they will. Then maybe even the complicit media will get involved.
I heard US military spending was more than the rest of the world put together. Who are they going to defend against the Klingons, maybe?
Praguetwin... We'll see. I think even the Pentagon is embarassed about that aircraft.

SadButTrue... Klingons! LOL!

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