Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rockets on MV-22's is being talked about again...

via Marine Corps Times.
The Marine Corps is considering a new plan to arm the MV-22 Osprey fleet and is now thinking of putting rockets, missiles or other forward-firing weapons on the tilt-rotor aircraft.

A more capable and heavily armed Osprey will be able to provide its own escort protection, a development the Corps has been pursuing for several years now from lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marine officials say.

The Corps’ latest plans to put forward-firing weapons on the Osprey comes at a time when the Marines are rethinking their long-standing hopes for a reliable all-quadrant weapon system that can shoot in many directions.

Efforts to build and deploy an all-quadrant weapon have faltered in recent years.

In the long run, the additional guns on the Osprey would be a somewhat temporary stopgap measure while the Corps continues to develop a massive futuristic sea drone. The future expeditionary sea drone program is known as the MUX.

Over the next decade, the Corps wants to develop a serious-heatpacking expeditionary armed sea drone that can complement the long-range capabilities of newer aircraft like the F-35B/C, CH-53K and MV-22.

But it’s going to be years before the Corps can field that, so new modifications for the MV-22 could fill the void in the meantime.
“We may find that initially, forward-firing weapons could bridge the escort gap until we get a new rotary wing or tilt-rotor attack platform, with comparable range and speed to the Osprey,” said Col. Romin Dasmalchi, Headquarters Marine Corps Aviation.
Story here. 

A couple of things.

1.  Remember we talked about Marine Air being somewhat unbalanced?  We have an assault transport in the form of the MV-22 being able to outdistance and outrun its traditional escort in the form of the AH-1Z and UH-1Y, well this would help bridge that gap...I guess.

2.  I wonder if it'll work.  All I can think of when I hear this is CH-47 Guns - A - Go Go.  That effort didn't work out too good.

3.  That big UAV they're trying to sneak under the radar in increments is gonna be a sight to behold.  I just don't know if that will remain unmanned. This mission specs are Tucano like and I really believe that it could hazard the F-35 buy.  That's why they're slow walking it but it remains to be seen if the F-35 can be made affordable.  I still have my doubts so the effort might get super charged.

All in all it makes sense.

But make no mistake.  This is a stop gap to fill a deficiency that should have been anticipated, especially in light of Amos trying to build a fictional SPMAGTF-CR...a land based MEU light that was aviation centric, that ultimately failed because even with enhanced reach and speed, it just didn't have the ability to support the infantry on the ground at distance.

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