A U.S. Marine Corps MV- 22 Osprey vertical-lift aircraft is refueled before a night mission in central Iraq in February.
is lowered. The original design included a forward
gun, but it was removed for weight and other engineering reasons.
Mulhern said he would have rather seen a 25mm gun
added, but that would have meant even more weight.
“Everything is an engineering trade-off,” he said,
adding that the situation in Iraq, when the al-Anbar
region was an extremely violent place, may have “
reemphasized” the need for another gun. It is unclear
whether the subsequent decrease in violence in western
Iraq will affect the speed with which an all-quadrant
gun is placed on the Marine variant of the Osprey.
During a May 2 press briefing at the Pentagon, Lt.
Col. Paul Rock, the commanding officer of Marine
Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (VMM-263), which
first deployed the Osprey to Iraq, said there were two
incidents of the aircraft being fired on during the entire
deployment, neither causing damage.
Other planned additions to the MV- 22 include a
300-pound Directional Infrared Countermeasures system, a 200-pound weather radar, as well as less
weighty features such as flare buckets and environmental control systems.
“You’ve got to remember that a truck can’t get so
fancy that it can’t carry all the vegetables to market,”
Mulhern said. “You’ve got to focus on the primary
function in life, which is moving Marines to the battle
or moving these special operators in and out of dangerous spots.”
“I think [if] you do enough ‘what ifs’ with this airplane, over time you’re going to want to have more
power in the airplane,” he said. “No question about it.”
The issue of engine power and weight emerged in
March during a briefing at the Navy League’s 2008 Sea-Air-Space Exposition in Washington, at which Mul-