The Osprey aircraft is getting a facelift, to give it offensive and defensive weapons capabilities.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center is reportedly exploring the use of “forward firing rockets, missiles, fixed guns, a chin mounted gun, and also looked at the use of a 30MM gun along with gravity drop rockets and guided bombs deployed from the back of the V-22,” the Scout Warrior reported.
Developers of this new and improved Osprey would like to engineer a platform that can both reach the high-speeds of an airplane while “retaining an ability to hover like a traditional helicopter.” During surprise attacks, this refined aircraft will play an integral role in the Marines’ mission.
The Osprey will be able to better defend itself if it comes under attack from small arms fire, missiles or surface rockets while conducting transport missions.
With 2.75 inch rockets, missiles and heavy guns, the Corps will expand the Osprey’s mission set beyond supplies and weapons transport. It will be able to support amphibious operations when Marines approach enemy territory.
The Marine Corps operates more than 250 MV-22 Ospreys around the world and they are increasingly in demand, Corps officials said.
Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns told Scout Warrior: “Both the air and ground mission commanders will have more options with the ability to provide immediate self-defense and collective defense of the flight. Depending on the weapons ultimately selected, a future tiltrotor could provide a range of capabilities spanning from self-defense on the lighter side to providing a gunship overwatch capability on the heavier scale.”
This effort to add weapons to the Osprey is happening in concert with other upgrades.
One of those other upgrades is called Digital Interoperability, adding communications technology so that in-flight crews have access to combat-relevant information while en route to a destination.
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