November 18, 2006 The United States Special Forces have been the best equipped in the world for a long time, though the gap widened considerably on Thursday with the first delivery of the CV-22 Osprey to the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The CV-22 is the Air Force version of the V-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the speed and range of fixed wing aircraft with the vertical flight performance of a helicopter. With its engine nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter, but once airborne its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. The CV-22 offers unprecedented speed in the ingress and extraction of special forces into any terrain. Just in case the advantages of the CV-22 and its almost identical brethren the V-22 aren’t entirely obvious, the following recently published briefing by Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute highlights why the Osprey is one system the military needs more of right now.
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