which far outstrips that of the legacy CH- 46 helicopter
it replaced,” Greenberg said. “That envelope, and the
procedures which govern the safe operation of the air-
craft, are effective in both combat and peacetime oper-
ations. There are no separate aircraft operating limita-
tions for either environment.”
The V- 22 program is working on an aerial refueling
system (VARS) that should be operational on MV- 22
Ospreys by fiscal 2018. These VARS-equipped aircraft
will be able to refuel F-35B Lightning II joint strike
fighters with 4,000 pounds of fuel at initial operational
capability, with that amount increasing to 10,000
pounds by 2019, according to Greenberg. This will
result in a big boost to the range of the F-35B, and
allow it to stay on station longer.
The MV- 22 also will be able to refuel other aircraft
in the Marine Corps’ arsenal, including the F/A- 18
multirole combat jet, AV-8B Harrier jump jet and CH-
53 Sea Stallion helicopter.
“Overall, VARS will be a huge force multiplier for a
sea-based MAGTF [Marine Air-Ground Task Force],”
He added that the Marines will field MV-22Cs in the
2030s. This version of the aircraft will use technologies
generated from the future vertical-lift efforts to
improve on its performance.
Bryan Clark, a senior fellow with the Center for
Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said that it is not
completely the end of the long-lived CH- 46, as there
are a few still operating around the world, many as a
result of foreign military sales
The V-22s will not completely replace CH-46s, at
least not in number. There will be fewer MV- 22 air-
frames than there were CH-46s in the fleet, but that is
OK because it is bigger — and besides, it is not like the
Marines had a choice, he said.
“If you look at the space on an amphibious assault
ship, there’s just not enough space to put as many MV-
22s as CH-46s,” Clark said, adding that the aircraft
also has twice the capacity — 10,000 versus 5,000
pounds, as well as the ability to carry more external
loads. So a one-for-one swap is not necessary.
The simple fact is that the CH- 46 served the fleet
long enough, and it is high time that it makes its exit,
“It’s been around for four decades, and it’s seen serv-
ice in every war since Vietnam,” he said. “It’s been the
mainstay for the Marines, especially for vertical lift,
because they have CH-53s but not that many.”
But now that there is a replacement for the aircraft,
it is time for the Sea Knight to fly off into the sunset.
“It was just getting old,” Clark said. ■
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / OCTOBER 2015
A CH- 46 Sea Knight helicopter and V- 22 Osprey tiltrotor begin their landing during the CH- 46 Retirement Ceremony at
the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum’s Steven Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., Aug. 1. The
ceremony was conducted by Marines from Medium Helicopter Squadron 774, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps
Forces Reserve, and Marines from Marine Helicopter Squadron One from Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.