V-22 Osprey - The helicopter and airplane that changed the game

V-22 Osprey: America’s first fully operational tilt-rotor military transport is both helicopter and airplane and can now fly across the Pacific Ocean.
Interesting Engineering

This American multi-mission, tilt-rotor military aircraft can take off and land vertically as well as take off and land as a plane.

Such a vehicle was requested by both the Military and the Navy in the 1980s. The Osprey is the first production tilt-rotor aircraft and typically operates as a helicopter. Once airborne, the vertical nacelles rotate 90 degrees in less than 20 seconds — readying the craft for horizontal flight! This converts the V-22 into a more fuel-efficient, high-speed, and long-range turboprop aircraft. 

The body is lighter than it may look, thanks to composite materials making up much of its frame. The rotors fold in 90 seconds for storage, and its wings rotate to align front to back with the fuselage. Why does it do this? So it is ready to pick up and get out of the way as quickly as possible should it need to and take up as little. This speedy wing folding also decreases the risk of accidents. 

However, this design is not without drawbacks. 

In order for the rotors to fold, they are five feet less than the optimal for vertical takeoff, which means the aircraft actually rarely takes off vertically. Instead, it uses its short takeoff ability to increase the maximum load.

The craft has two Rolls Royce AE1107C engines that are connected to a central gearbox so that one engine can power both prop rotors. Meaning if one engine fails, the other is able to safely power the Osprey. However, it really can’t hover on one engine.

The V-22 is like a cargo helicopter - it can seat 24 troops, 32 troops floor loaded, 20,000 libre of internal cargo, or 15,000 libre of external cargo!

The Osprey boasts three variants: CV-22B, CMV-22B, and MV-22B. 

CV-22B is the U.S. Air Force variant, which conducts long-range, special operations missions and has an increased fuel capacity.

CMV-22B is the U.S. Navy’s variant. This has an extend-range fuel system, high-frequency radio, and a public address system. 

The MV-22B is the U.S. Marine Corp’s variant and is an assault transport for troops, equipment, and supplies. It can be equipped with a 7.62 by 51-millimeter NATO 0.308 caliber M240 machine gun or a 0.50 caliber 12.7-millimeter M2 machine gun in the rear loading rack! Plus, a remotely operated gun turret system in the belly of the craft!

The Osprey aircrafts have supported the U.S. for over 15 years and look to be relied on far into the future.