MARINE CORPS ROTARY-WING AIRCRAFT
Marine Corps rotary-wing aircraft support the MAGTF in the areas of assault
support, offensive air support, and control of aircraft and missiles. The
Marine Corps is necking down the number of rotary-wing models that it operates
to four - and even that number could be reduced to just three aircraft
models in the future.
The MV-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor, V/STOL aircraft designed to replace the
CH-46E and CH-53D aircraft presently operated by the Marine Corps. The
MV-22 will be an integral part of the "amphibious triad" - the MV-22, the
Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV), and the Landing Craft Air Cushion
(LCAC) - necessary to execute the concept of Operational Maneuver from
the Sea (OMFTS). The MV-22 is capable of carrying 24 combat-equipped Marines
or a 10,000-pound
external load, and deploying 2,100 nautical miles with a single aerial
refueling. The MV-22's rotor system and engine/transmission nacelle mounted
on each wingtip allow it to operate as a helicopter for takeoff and landing.
Once airborne, the nacelles rotate forward 90 degrees, converting the MV-22
into a high altitude, fuel-efficient turboprop aircraft.
The program is currently in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development
phase. The aircraft has completed Operational Assessment IIB, high/hot
hover performance trials, and has accrued over 1,100 flight hours with
the Full Scale Development and E&MD aircraft. The Osprey enters the
Developmental Test/Operational Test phase in 1997; aircraft deliveries
to operating forces begin in 1999 and initial operational capability is
scheduled for 2001.
AH-1W SUPER COBRA AND UH-1N HUEY
The AH-1W is a two-place,
twin-engine attack helicopter capable of land- or sea-based operations.
It provides close air support under day/night and adverse weather conditions.
Additionally, it provides anti-armor/anti helicopter operations, armed
escort, armed and visual reconnaissance, and supporting arms coordination.
With incorporation of the Night Targeting System (NTS), the Cobra can provide
day/night precision targeting and laser designation. The UH-1N is a combat
utility helicopter that provides airborne command and control as well as
supporting arms coordination, medical evacuation, maritime special operations,
insertion/extraction, and search and rescue.
The H-1 Upgrade program replaces the current two-bladed rotor systems
on the UH-1N and AH-1W aircraft with a new, four-bladed, all-composite
rotor system coupled with a sophisticated, fully integrated cockpit and
state-of-the-art technical enhancements. This 4BN/4BW remanufacture program
reduces life-cycle costs, significantly improves operational capabilities,
resolves existing safety deficiencies, and extends the service lives of
both aircraft. Commonality between aircraft greatly enhances the maintainability
and deployability of the systems with both aircraft supported and operated
within the same squadron structure.
CH-46 SEA KNIGHT
The CH-46E Sea Knight
helicopter is a day/night assault transport of combat troops, supplies,
and equipment during amphibious landings and subsequent operations ashore.
Additional tasks are evacuation operations and other maritime special operations;
over-water search and rescue augmentation; support for mobile forward refueling
and rearming points; and aeromedical evacuation of casualties from the
Normal airframe operational and attrition rates have taken the CH-46
force to the point where a medium lift replacement is required. Several
safety and capability upgrades - interim measures to allow continued safe
and effective operation of the Sea Knight fleet until its replacement by
the MV-22 - are currently in work, including: a dynamic component upgrade,
a communication/navigation control system, Night Vision Goggle Head-Up
Display (NVG HUD), GPS, and AN/ARC-210 radios.
CH-53D SEA STALLION
A more capable version
of the CH-53A introduced into the Marine Corps in 1966, the CH-53D Sea
Stallion is designed to transport equipment, supplies, and personnel during
the assault phase of an amphibious operation and subsequent operations
ashore. Capable of carrying supplies both internally and externally, the
CH-53D is shipboard compatible and capable of operation in adverse weather
conditions both day and night. It can carry 37 passengers in its normal
configuration and 55 passengers with centerline seats installed.
The CH-53D is being used in the Marine Corps medium lift helicopter
fleet until its replacement by the MV-22 Osprey. Funded operational safety
improvement programs, including GPS, AN/ARC-210 radios, FLIR, and NVG HUD,
will ensure that the aircraft remains capable until its retirement.
CH-53E SUPER STALLION
The CH-53E is the
Marine Corps heavy-lift helicopter. The aircraft is capable of lifting
16 tons at sea level, transporting the load 50 nautical miles, and returning.
The CH-53E can be refueled in flight, giving the helicopter a virtually
indefinite range. The aircraft is compatible with most amphibious warships.
It seats 37 passengers in its normal configuration and has provisions to
carry 55 passengers with centerline seats installed. The CH-53E Super Stallion
provides the MAGTF the capability to deliver heavy and outsized cargo,
artillery, and light armor vehicles. It also provides a rapid combat resupply
opportunity when needed. Funded operational safety improvement programs
for the aircraft include GPS, AN/ARC-210 radios, and NVG HUD.