The official helicopter of the US President - known by the callsign "Marine One" when he is aboard, just as his jet is "Air Force One" - may in future be a V-22 "Osprey" tiltrotor rather than a normal whirlybird, according to reports. An Osprey in horizontal aeroplane-flight mode Sorry about your lawn, Mr President DoD Buzz …
He could just buy a normal Bell/Agusta BA609, with the tiltrotor technology and a bizjet body, instead of all that procurement hassle and extra cost of converting a military aircraft to executive fit-out. Or would that upset the defence contractors?
President dies in tiltrotor crash. No mystery cause.
Lone gunmen are so 20th century.
Looks like someone is gunning for the prez again.
Looks a bit sinister doesn't it?
Looks like something that might be constructed by Skynet and called the AT-1000 (AT is for Airborne Terminator)
Just for my own curiosity, does anyone know the availability of the ageing Sea Kings that are in service compared to the 69 and (hopefully) 84% availability of the Osprey?
Not just one.
They use a fleet and nobody knows which one the prez is in. so they need a lot of ospreys, taking a lot of room up (MUCH more than sea kings) and ALL of them need to be fully equipped. It wont be cheap.
Glad I'm not picking up the bill for that. sorry to our stateside taxpayers.
Er.. a Chinook?
If one can get an Osprey in, what's wrong with a Chinook? It has the lifting capacity, it even has the room inside, both for the electronics as well as the Pres + several SS men.
And it won't burn the precious White House turf.
They know better than to trust the programming in Chinooks, that's why they sell them to us instead.
That's just what I thought.
There are plenty of Chinooks flying and surely they're battle-proven and heavy-lift?
Unroll a big tarpaulin of old Space Shuttle tiles...
I'd be more concerned about what happens the other end of the journey. Like in any given parking lot. And, of course, when docking with Cloudbase or with Thunderbird 2.
...what mobile office, didn't he have a famous Blackberry? What else does he need?
Charger for the football. Realtime high bandwidth data.
First for everything
I would expect for the osprey to become obsolete or at least geriatric first, though. It's been how long now? 29 years of presumably diligent development? If the thing would actually do all that was promised it'd do they'd be ubiquitous by now. The 89% availability is just as respectable a figure as the various itanic shipment projections. In fact I get the distinct feeling the ospreys were fielded only because they didn't have anything better and could blame further failures on ``insurgents''. Nobody's going to know there weren't any in the deserted, er, desert.
Why don't they use one of those twin-rotor things that they had in Avatar? There was loads of them flying about and they didn't crash... Well, not until they were spat at by a big dragon thing....
This is going to piss off the Europeans big time. They have not forgotten the cancellation of the US 101 which was actually rather dubious. It was openly speculated that the cost over-run was deliberate as someone kept changing the requirement in order to make the project excessively expensive in order to allow a new competition where an American heli would be chosen. Don't forget the US 101 went against American competition and came out on top.
An Osprey is a stupid choice, granted the main role is for the thing to get the President to Air Force one, but what happens when you need to land somewhere else, like the Queen's Garden for instance? Her Majesty is not letting some damn Yank put astroturf on her lovely lawn!!
Lewis' incredibly dumb comment here made me laugh:
"the relatively small European aircraft struggled to carry all the required communications kit - described as "an Oval Office in the sky" - not to mention the necessary hardening against electromagnetic pulses from nuclear weapons etc"
Relatively small? Have you ever stood next to a Merlin Lewis? Have you seen the amount of kit and armour the UK puts on them? The only way to get anything bigger is to use a Chinook or a Russian offering. There are some old US helis such as the Seasprite which compare for size, but they are as old as the Sea Kings! The US Blackhawk lost the original competition, probably because it was not big or powerful enough. I would be amused if it won the re-run. I think we can safely conclude that the amount of communications kit is not the real issue...
The Department Of The Bleeding Obvious suggests to use first the current CH53 and when it is ready and flown for five years, the CH53K.
Using a radically different type of new aircraft to transport the POTUS is a sure way to kill him and to end the career of at least one Marine General.
The CH53 on the other hand, is the workhorse of several forces around the globe and is based on well-understood technology and operating principles. Despite its size it is quite maneuverable and has enough payload to be fitted with a in-air refueling probe,armour, guns, IR decoys, IR-blinding lasers (Rosboronexport has a nice one on offer) and even RADAR if you need it. But we are talking about Americans, so the easy and straightforward option won't make it...
"The MH-53J Pave Low III heavy-lift helicopter is the largest, most powerful and technologically advanced transport helicopter in the US Air Force inventory. The terrain-following and terrain-avoidance radar, forward looking infrared sensor, inertial navigation system with Global Positioning System, along with a projected map display enable the crew to follow terrain contours and avoid obstacles, making low-level penetration possible."
I especially like the photo of one CH53 carrying another one on its hook. This is a truely impressive aircraft.
Great, but also retired
I knew there was one I forgot to mention, well done for pointing it out.
I agree with you, a great heli, however, as the top of the Wikipedia page says, it has been retired and replaced with... the V-22! Plus its an Air Force bird not a Marine Corp one which is probably why it did not get a look in as the Marines are very protective about their Presidential helicopter and wont let the Air Force muscle in. The same reason is why the Air Force has the plane. The Army provide Camp David as their contribution. The US miltary was never really joined up!
I believe the requirement specifically stated that the presidential helicopter also has to be in-service or entering service with the Marine Corp (US 101 was tipped to win here too). This makes sense otherwise the spare parts are horribly expensive, plus it makes it easier to stick on or replace most of the armour and defensive aids suite plus and add whatever presidential extras are needed. This also means that all Marine Corp engineers would have sufficient training to maintain the helicopters properly.
As the Royal Marines like to say, 99% need not apply!
What, you mean the grass isn't flameproofed already?
Has no-one sent the White House a copy of Independence Day?
I suppose, ultimately, this is down to a turf war between the various branches of the US military. I imagine (not being from the US) that it is somehow important that it is seen to be a Marines' piece of hardware, as the 747s already belong to the USAF.
The Army, with its puny CH-47 Chinooks, for some reason don't seem to get a look in. Possibly because they are "Army" and therefore don't "get" flying. But then I thought that the USMC were happiest using boats...
They currently develop a new version, CH53K. This thing is something like the AK47 - it will always exist.
CH53E Super Stallion
The biggest CH53 variant is actually operated by the USMC (and USN, USAF and JMSDF), so the idea of using the V22 to shuttle the Prez probably is probably one of those "initiatives" to appear modern. Even if it does not make any sense.
Compare the engine power:
CH53E - 9810KW
CH47F - 7058KW
V22 - 9200KW
According to Wikipedia
"On 26 October 2001 3 CH-53Es aboard the USS Peleliu and 3 CH-53Es aboard USS Bataan flew 550 miles (890 km) to secure the first land base in Afghanistan, Camp Rhino, with 1100 troops at its peak. This amphibious raid is the longest amphibious raid in history. The long range capability of the CH-53Es enabled Marines to establish a southern base in Afghanistan, putting the war on the ground"
Also, the USMC is operating the CH53 for VIP support purposes. They just have to take a few CH53Es, repaint, armour and "electrify" them. This is actually the best helo in the Western World and all the problems are well understood. Range nearly 1000 kilometers. A lot more if refuelled by C130s.
I think we can agree
.. that a CH53 is a far better choice than a V-22. I am amazed it can get any kind of decent fuel economy with such huge engines. It must be a real hog in money to maintain, but hey this is the Prez so no expense spared etc.
So the question is, is this thing in the competition or not? If not, why not?
Why not build a catapault for Air Force 1 instead ;) As long as we're spending money here too stimulate the economy it might as well be something worth seeing.
- Geek's Guide to Britain Kingston's aviation empire: From industry firsts to Airfix heroes
- Analysis Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster
- Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL
- Google chief Larry Page gives Sundar Pichai keys to the kingdom
- Breaking news: Google exec veep in terrifying SKY PLUNGE DRAMA