June 17, 2006 Marines successfully completed two non-stop, coast-to-coast flights this week with a pair of MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, as a precursor to a transatlantic flight to England with the same Ospreys in July. The unconventional Osprey started life with some very bad publicity but now that the unconventional machine is working properly, it is beginning to offer an entirely new way of doing things, adding an important new tool to the Marine armoury. "Unlike conventional rotary wing aircraft, which must be transported into overseas theaters of operation aboard amphibious shipping or heavy lift transport planes, the V-22 can self-deploy thousands of miles over water to get itself to the fight," said Col. Bill Taylor, V-22 Osprey joint program manager. The Marine Corps is conducting the long-distance flights to develop tactics, techniques and procedures for long-range, over-water movements of MV-22s, in preparation for the first combat deployment in 2007.
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