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MV-22B 'Ospreys' get 'Balikatan' debut


The Bell Boeing MV-22B "Ospreys", the world's first-ever tilt-rotor aircraft, will have its "Balikatan" debut this April 5 to 17.

The "Ospreys" will be used as ship-to-shore connectors. A US Marine Corps statement said that this will the first time the MV-22B will be used to conduct single and dual-point sling loads from a dry cargo and ammunition ship.

Earlier, the Armed Forces of the Philippines announced that 30 airplanes, of which 20 are from the US, will participate in this year's "Balikatan" Exercise.

The "Ospreys" also features both a vertical takeoff and landing, and short takeoff and landing capability.

It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

The MV-22B originated from the United States Department of Defense joint-service vertical take-off/landing experimental aircraft program started in 1981.

The team of Bell Helicopter and Boeing Helicopters was awarded a development contract in 1983 for the tiltrotor aircraft.

The Bell Boeing team jointly produced the aircraft. The V-22 first flew in 1989, and began flight testing and design alterations; the complexity and difficulties of being the first tiltrotor intended for military service in the world led to many years of development.

The United States Marine Corps began crew training for the "Ospreys" in 2000, and fielded it in 2007; it is supplementing and will eventually replace their CH-46 "Sea Knights".

The MV-22B's other operator, the US Air Force, fielded their version of the tiltrotor in 2009. Since entering service with the US Marine Corps and Air Force, the aircraft has been deployed in both combat and rescue operations over Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.