Monday, December 12, 2016

Marines Want Armed Drone ASAP To Escort V-22

via Breaking Defense.
The Marine Corps’s rotorcraft requirements director, Col. John Barranco Jr., told me after a CSIS panel Friday on FVL that his service wants the drone first because “we have a gap that the Army does not have.” Specifically, the Corps needs an armed escort for its V-22 Osprey tiltrotor troop transports, which at 250 knots (287 mph) cruise more than twice as fast as its AH-1Z Cobra gunships. The Army doesn’t have that problem because the Army transports troops in conventional helicopters.
Bell Helicopter and a Sikorsky/Boeing team are building manned technology demonstrator aircraft under the FVL umbrella — the V-280 Valor and SB>1 Defiant, respectively — that will be required to fly fast enough to escort an Osprey. First flights are scheduled next year. But no production FVL aircraft are expected until the early 2030s.

So what the hell!  The AH-1Z and UH-1Y no longer have a job in the Marine Corps even though they just spent a metric shitload of money to get them upgraded?  The F-35B can't do the escort mission?  The concepts they're building for an "aviation centric" Marine Corps means that the wing gets to suck even more money from the budget?

The USMC is pushing a concept that will place a Company Landing Team 1,000 miles from supporting fire and now to fill that lack of fires they're proposing an armed drone?

When the big 3 was first proposed for the Marine Corps (EFV, MV-22 and F-35) it wasn't toward an eye toward "revolutionizing" Marine doctrine.  It was suppose to make us faster and more lethal.  It was suppose to build on battle winning fundamentals.


Now to justify the F-35 and MV-22 they're being touted as gamechangers. Even worse is that they're altering the Marine Corps to fit the capabilities of those aircraft instead of acquiring aircraft that fit our doctrine.  Not only is the Wing unbalancing the Marine Corp but the Wing itself is now unbalanced.

If you're a UH-1Y/AH-1Z pilot I recommend you get your package together to get a seat in a MV-22 if you still want to fly.  If this gets approved then you guys are on the chopping block.

Sidenote:  John in the comments wrote something that is laced with so much common sense its stunning.  The USMC simply needs to buy a fixed wing light airplane that is capable of landing on a big deck amphib (L-class carrier).  We've done it before and the OV-10 would make an ideal escort for the MV-22!

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