Wednesday, January 14, 2015

V-22 For Navy COD

The Navy has decided to buy 12 V-22 Ospreys for its carrier delivery (COD) role (1) which is currently filled by the C-2 Greyhound.  The Greyhound, you’ll recall, is a variant of the E-2 Hawkeye.

At a quick glance, the V-22 and C-2 appear to have very similar cargo and passenger capacities.  The main difference appears to be in their range.  Wiki cites the V-22 as having an 880 nm range while the C-2 is listed at 1300 nm.  I would have assumed that range was a pretty important factor for reaching carriers well out at sea but, to be fair, I don’t know what the range requirements are. 

The other aspect of this decision that is somewhat puzzling is that the C-2 is supportable on the carrier in that it shares commonality with the E-2.  How will a V-22 be supported?

I have no problem with selecting the V-22 but it is a slightly puzzling choice when range and support are factored in.  I hope this is not a politically motivated decision that sacrifices performance for political expediency. 


(1) "Navy Decides to Buy V-22 Ospreys for Carrier Delivery", Richard Whittle, 13-Jan-2015,

44 comments:

  1. If you start loading cargo into the V-22, you know, to make it useful, that range figure goes down. The C-2 has a greater range and more internal volume, but the V-22 can sling load, but again, the range even further decreases with the drag imposed by the external load. What makes the V-22 interesting is that it provides a long range SAR or TRAP capability to the CVG. But let's not fool ourselves: this MOU was pushed by the Marines to try to control V-22 unit costs (via MYP) which are substantial. And I'm pretty certain that CPFH are much higher for V-22 than C-2, even though the Marines are claiming a reduction in CPFH recently. Finally, 12 HV-22s would not completely replace C-2As, which are good out to 2027, so they are not gone anytime soon. Finally, Breaking Defense, the pub that broke the story, has board members that are deeply invested in the MV-22 (and the F-35B,) so I'd be reluctant to read anything into a final decision just yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it big enough/strong enough to carry the F-35 engine? Or the Superhornet engine?

      I'm bugged by the range issue. Alot. From everything I've read one of the biggest gaps in our carrier aviation is range. And we seem to be doubling down on the loss of range.

      Delete
    2. Also, how does this bode for the E2? Isn't that Northrop/Grummans only manned carrier aircraft at this moment?

      I'm just worried that someone is imagining a EV-22 AWACS

      Delete
    3. Jim, the V-22 can reportedly internally carry the F414 engine (SH engine) but requires sling loading for the F135 engine.

      The E2 is safe for now, it just underwent a major upgrade, but NG does have plans to compete for that job at the next decision point which won't likely be for another 10 years.

      Charley, the V-22 has lower empty weight, lower loaded weight, and higher max weight than the C-2. The only advantage of the C-2 is un-refueled range.

      Apparently one of the driving factor that pushed things to the V-22 was the logistics results from using V-22s in AFG where the V-22s ended up being much better than the combination of C-130s and helicopters. The V-22 was generally able to deliver the same payloads within 1d as it took a combination of platforms 2 days to deliver.

      Delete
    4. Someone has already covered the AEW V22 for the Royal Navy.

      http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/giving-eyes-to-aircraft-carriers.html

      Issues with the max height though, Don't know what would be involved in pressurising a V22 ?

      Beno

      Delete
    5. V-22 is designed to be pressurised, however it ran into cost overruns when changes to folding dimensions meant modifications were needed to the rotating assembly where the wings join the fuselage. Full pressurisation wasn't needed for the IOC tasks and so work stopped to save money at the time.

      Delete
  2. Interesting.

    I'd like to point out that with the V-22 you will be able to COD onto ships that arn't carriers.

    Is that even possible ?

    Lets call it NVOD
    ( although that doesn't spell a word, so that will never catch on! )

    LOL

    Beno

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ben, be very careful about generic statements that may or may not be backed by technological fact. I can't tell you how many people write to me with ideas about landing V-22s or F-35s on any flat surface. "Hey, we could put a piece of drywall on top of that rowboat and stage F-35s off it!" No, we can't because there are weight and temperature limitations. For example, I've read that the Marines looked at operating MV-22s off the JHSV and decided that weight issues and thermal damage to the deck preclude it. Very few ships (none?) that aren't designed to handle the weight and heated exhaust from a V-22 can actually accomodate them. The LCS, as another example, can't operate V-22s.

      Of course, a V-22 might be able to VERTREP but so can any helo and we have lots of them!

      Just a caution for you as you're thinking about these things!

      Delete
    2. I'd be concerned about VERTREP too. From what I've read, the V-22 doesn't like staying in the hover long. So I have this picture in my head of Navy equivalent of the ornery mailman from Funny Farm buzzing the deck and chucking the mail out the rear ramp.

      Delete
    3. CNO, apparently the V-22's ability to COD to none carriers was a major factor in its favor, just fyi.

      Delete
    4. :) I know. I sometimes sound like a 14 year old cocky SOB. But actually I'm a 43 year old British Degree Graduate Mechanical Engineer. That once helped design the lifts for the Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers. I was 19 and needed the money ( ahhh the days of CAD\CAM ) ;)

      + I'd actually read a bit on the selection criteria (as above). And was really referring to your Assault ships.

      Beno

      Delete
    5. Just an FYI, V-22s are certified for all the amphibs, T-AKE ships, and carriers. They are also planning to certify for the hospital ships as well as the DDGs and CGs.

      Also after doing more reading, they apparently have a solution for the F135 engine as well. While it won't fit the containerized F135 engine, it apparently can fit the F135 in a new transport rig.

      Delete
    6. ats, I've not heard that V-22 is certified for T-AKE or planning to certify for hospital ships or DDGs/CGs. Do you have a reference or link for that?

      Delete
    7. http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/the-future-cod-aircraft-contenders-the-bell-boeing-v-22/

      A little over half way through the article.

      Delete
    8. ats, thanks for that link. To be exact, though, the article stated that the V-22 has been certified for the T-AKE. The person who is the subject of the article is a current employee of Bell Helicopter which makes his statements of capability somewhat suspect. Further, he states that he HOPES that the V-22 can get started on other certifications - that's not the same as an actual certification program underway. I found a lot of the anecdotal claims of superior capability to be suspect or falling into the spin or cherry picking category.

      I've checked my sources and I can't find any other reference to the V-22 being T-AKE certified. Do you have any official source? It may well be certified but I can't confirm it.

      Delete
  3. I certainly hope the Navy has also factored in the much higer than projected (promised?) support costs for each hour of operation. Probably not because DoD only worries about getting new toys AND NOT supprting them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1/4 range, 1/2 payload, and 3 times the purchase price and operating cost...

    If the Navy wanted these in addition to new build C-2Ds i could understand that. It would greatly increase the capability to move around and supply DDGs and CGs that are conducting independent ops and buying and maintaining 12 MV-22s is a tiny amount in a 132 billion annual budget. However as a basic logistics mission of resupplying the CVN/CSG is leaves me completely baffled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you sure about the 1/2 payload? V-22 has lower empty weight, lower loaded weight, and higher max weight. AKA, at least in payload weight the V-22 has an advantage. Don't have data for the internal volumes to be able to do a volumetric comparison.

      Delete
    2. One of the interesting things I've observed about the V-22 is that the specs are one thing and the actual performance is another. While all aircraft performance can be adversely affected by less than ideal conditions, the V-22 seems particularly susceptible. I've received lots of communications from infantry types who clearly state that the V-22 actual loads are significantly less than the published specs.

      Consider VERTREP, for example. The V-22 has a helo mode but is not designed to operate in that mode. It is designed to pass through that mode during take off and landing. The V-22 has been examined for ASW and various other functions and been deemed unsatisfactory due to its very poor and unsafe helo mode. The military has deemed the risk acceptable for the brief time necessary to take off and land but not for extended hover operations. Thus, VERTREP, while theoretically possible, is not a desirable V-22 capability and may not even be safe. I'm also unsure about the thermal exhaust and downdraft effects on the receiving ship. Maybe it's possible but maybe not. I've not seen anything definitive. We should also bear in mind the fuel gulping nature of the V-22 in hover mode and the impact that would have on range.

      Delete
    3. Oh sure, the specs and actual performance could be worlds apart, but the only thing I can actually go off of is the specs.

      Delete
    4. Public loads and ranges from Afghanistan operations put the V-22 at just over 1,000nm with around 4,000lbs unrefueled with no auxiliary tanks (500nm combat radius) which is a full load of passengers or an F135 if memory serves.

      That's comparable in performance to the C-2 which although does have a speed and range edge, doesn't lug a full 10,000lbs for its full listed ferry range either.

      V-22 is more flexible, but costs much more. I think it's this cost cost that irks people the most.

      Delete
    5. An internet source? No. Just my own experience of being hauled around in one and having stuff hauled around by them in Afghanistan. Numbers were not impressive and generally the CH-53E was considered better. Heck, ancient CH-53Ds did great work in Afghanistan where the 2 engine design required less maintenance cost and hours than the 3 engine CH-53E. The CH-53D suffered more catostrophic failure but that we because the aircraft were ancient.

      Delete
  5. Twelve aircraft? That's one per airwing, plus a few spares - a fairly tepid response. The Marines have already indicated their intent to increase Program of record from 360 to 388 Ospreys; twelve aircraft rounds the DoN program of record to 400 and undoubtedly reduces the per unit acquisition cost over the existing multi-year contract. Were the Navy enthusiastic about this plan, they would be purchasing more V-22s under this multi-year deal.

    Lemonade from lemons. Establish one squadron on the West Coast, collocated with the Marine VMM at Miramar (close to the carrier piers). Detach 2-4 aircraft per deploying Pacific CSG/airwing to supplement H-60s for VOD, SAR, and relieve the Super Hornets of primary tanking duties.

    V/r TA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trons, just a reminder that COD aircraft are not assigned to an air wing. They operate independently.

      Delete
  6. Here is another theoretical approach.
    Since the R&D on the C-2 has allready been done and payed for, wouldn't it be cheaper to actually restore prodution at some aircraft manifacturing plant, and add the benefits from the E-2D.
    Tooling and machinery has advanced since the 60ties.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The C-2 proposal included new wings and engines from the E-2D program.

      Delete
  7. The V-22 is not a long-term COD solution because, AFAIK, it can't carry an F-35 engine.

    That being said, I think integrating V-22s into the carrier airwing is a step in the right direction. IMHO, they make more sense there than in the ESG, but that's another topic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct, internally it cannot carry the F-35 engine, but IIRC neither can the C-2. OTOH, the V-22 can sling load the F-35 engine and with in flight refueling can deliver it anywhere.

      Delete
    2. Incorrect. In early 2014 trials were completed for carrying the F135 internally. This involved fitting a frame to the engine to insert into the CV-22 test aircraft rather than loading the engine contained in the normal transportation container.

      Delete
    3. Yep saw that today after I posted. Apparently Bell did a lot of the R&D to make it work.

      So that means the the V-22 can deliver the F135 engine, can deliver directly to a significantly greater number of Navy platforms (with plans to certify for the DDG and CGs as well), and can carry more weight.

      Delete
    4. Interesting. Didn't know that. I stand corrected.

      Delete
    5. From what I've read, the F-35 engine can't be transported in its normal container. It has to be transported as a "loose" item. A carrier would not store engines as loose items so some sort of container would have to be provided at the carrier. This is not quite a proven capability, yet!

      Delete
    6. It's a frame fitted to the engine load bearing points and subsequently slid into and secured to the existing V-22 cabin secure points.

      ConOps is to rotate engines between those already stored aboard (i.e. already in available containers) or if none stored at the destination (for whatever reason) to swap out and return with the engine to be replaced. The trials were extensive.

      C-2 would require further cabin modifications beyond the use of the frame.

      Delete
  8. Did the article actually state they were being purchased as a REPLACEMENT for the C-2 or simply in the same role? I can easily see them buying some to supplement their C-2s, given their complementary abilities. I personally think the Navy needs to develop a Heavy lift Amphibian cargo plane, with a lift capacity in the same range as the C-17.

    Randall Rapp

    ReplyDelete
  9. Im always fascinated by things like this.
    The obvious question is always "why"

    No one else has this role.
    The UK parachutes the odd supply drop (or replacement crew) to distant carriers, but this just seems to be an "well we always did it" back when letters were written on paper not electrons

    ReplyDelete
  10. is C-3 built from S-3 Viking is a dead project? It is interesting option for COD.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It appears to be. The only two options under formal consideration were the V-22 and C-2(B?).

      Lockheed apparently floated the idea but didn't submit any actual proposals.

      Delete
  11. Unfortunately, I think you nailed it, CNO, "politically motivated deal that sacrifices performance for political expediency."

    ReplyDelete
  12. I find it fascinating that the USN found the V-22 to be unsuitable as a VERTREP replacement for the H-46, and is now buying the V-22 to replace C-2s, in spite of the huge loss of range, unpressurized cabin, and massive O&M costs.

    I think the real reason to go with the V-22 is motivated by the fact that the USMC is going to be eaten alive by the V-22, and F-35, so this is an attempt to ease the Corps budget woes.

    GAB

    GAB

    ReplyDelete
  13. Honestly where I think the would work is new distributed surface action groups. Think of Singapore and the LCS squadron. Assuming you can manage to land a MV-22B on a LCS, not a given by any means, you could have an LCS 400nm from the base. When something breaks or you need a crew expert you call the base and immediately fly the part and him or her to the LCS. The MV-22B lands gets a quick once over and a refuel and flies back to the base.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The LCS-1 class has a structurally weak flight deck and is not rated for anything heavier than a -60 helo. I'm less sure about the LCS-2 version though I think it suffers from the same limitations. These weaknesses were the result of early attempts at cost cutting.

      Delete
  14. The V-22 will do COD more efficiently than the C-2. V-22 can land on non-carrier ships that the C-2 can not. As far as range, the V-22 is aerial refuelable. I don't know if the C-2 is.

    ReplyDelete
  15. While not perfect, V-22 provides a lot more flexibility during distributed operations. Huge oversight regarding LCS flight deck, this needs immediate attention. I flew the 46 in Iraq and the V-22 in Afghanistan and did a MEU with each. No comparison. Haters got to get on board. It works and it is only getting better. Being privy to this decision process, this was not politically expedient or motivated, it actually took almost ten years for the Tailhook community to get over their bias. USMC gets nothing from this other than a competitor for replacement parts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've mentioned only one aspect of COD - distributed operations, by which I assume you mean distribution of supplies locally within the carrier groups ships. Equally, or more important, is range to reach a carrier from land and support capability (spares, shops, mechanics, etc.) aboard the carrier. What are your thoughts on those?

      Also, you mention flying the -46 and V-22 but not the direct, alternate COD platforms, the C-2 and -60. That you might find the V-22 superior to the -46 is not surprising but to extrapolate that to superiority over the C-2 and -60 seems unsupported. Thoughts?

      Delete