By lex, on December 19th, 2008
To Africa and back:
For the first time ever, a detachment of V-22 Ospreys deployed from its home base in the United States, flying across the Atlantic Ocean to an exercise in northern Africa.
Four CV-22 Ospreys from the Hurlburt Field, Fla.-based 8th Special Operations Squadron lifted off in October from the sand dunes and palm trees of their Gulf coast base and flew more than 6,000 miles to the rock-strewn deserts of Bamako, Mali.
The aircraft operated for about three weeks there in support of Operation Flintlock – a joint 10th Special Forces Group and North African commando exercise intended to sharpen combat skills and build military-to-military relations.
But it was also a coming out party for the special operations version of the Osprey.
I have to admit to a certain skepticism when it comes to the Osprey. The machine seemed to me a fusion of all the worst characteristics or fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft, lacking the purpose-driven efficiency of the former while elevating the complexity of the latter – no mean feat. It also seemed as though it was being pushed as much by “dual use” congressmen hoping to leverage military R&D to open up spoke airports bearing their names in rural backwaters than any military necessity.
Yet here we are.
You kids get off my lawn.