back to article V-22 Osprey combo-copter hits fresh tech snags

The famous V-22 "Osprey" tiltrotor plane-chopper combo is back in the news again for unhappy reasons, mere months after it had seemed to be finally putting its troubles behind it. A US project official has revealed to the press that the Osprey's engines are currently wearing out much too fast, to the point where it may need to …


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  1. Paul Smith

    I do not believe it

    "Britain's new aircraft carriers, though easily big enough, will not be equipped to launch and recover regular fixed-wing planes. This is so as to save money -"

    An aircraft carrier that can carry aircraft, but not launch or land them? I bet they could save even more money by not fitting engines. Or only using it on alternate days...

  2. Peter Ford

    Re: I do not beleive it

    Not wishing to be pedantic, the helicopters, F-35s and TOSSpreys, all of which can launch or land from these ships, are "aircraft" too.

    They're just not "regular fixed-wing planes" ...

  3. Mike Plunkett
    Black Helicopters

    @Paul Smith

    Our new carriers will be able to launch and recover short take off/vertical landing aircraft like the Harrier and the F-35B, but not your average, run of the mill fixed wing plane. At least, not to begin with...

    They are being built equipped 'for but not with' catapaults and arrestor gear i.e. there is space and weight reserved for the equipment but it is not to be fitted from the outset. Unfortunately, since the ships are gas turbine powered, fitting a conventional steam catapault is out of the question as it would require a dedicated (and very expensive) steam plant to run it. This means your catapault will have to be of the electromagnetic variety, which is a far from proven technology, at least at the moment.

  4. Elmer Phud

    naming of the beast

    "Perhaps to Surveillance Patrol Upgrade Navalisation Kit" messy name but tasty.

    The earlier model was the Winged Army/Navy Kopter which obviously comes before the S.P.U.N.K.

    Mine is the long gabardine one before I get done for tele-cottaging

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: I do not believe it

    "I bet they could save even more money by not fitting engines."

    To late. Been done by the MoD. The army got a whole load of amphibious trucks (Alvis Stalwart I think) at vast expense some time back, only to be told that the amphibious engines cost to much to run, so they striped them out, and ended up with a whole load of very expensive trucks that could float, but not go anywhere once in the water.

  6. James

    But then I remember

    the Tramiel Operating System.

    But who gives a ....

  7. Jon G

    Fairey Rotodyne

    This role sounds like a job for the Fairey Rotodyne - but hang on, that was cancelled to save money....

    I see a theme emerging here

  8. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    If only.....

    Yes, I know it's been posted at el Reg many times before, but if only the moronic civil servants hadn't killed the Fairey Rotodyne, we'd have had a platform of fulfilling the ASW, ASR, transport and EWACS roles, with plenty of grunt for lifting the heaviest loads, long range, and long before the Falklands War. I'm just waiting for some cost-sensitive Whitehall twit to say; "Hey, why don't we stick the radar on one of those American blimps!"

  9. Adam Peters

    Not quite true....

    The CVF design should be able to complement CTOL operations by a retrofit. (they will basically remove the ski-jump and install catapults, and arrestor gear at the back)

    So if they do decide to go fixed wing, the hull should accomadate it.

  10. Emrys Capati

    add: I do not believe it

    Or have modular cockpits like those envisioned in "Space Above and Beyond"

    An alien: since we're a bit on the scifi side. RIP Sir Arthur Clarke

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Great Idea !

    Lets bring back the TSR2 and rename it the TOSSR2 and all will be solved.

  12. Dan

    Alternative name



  13. Anonymous Coward

    You're Having a Laff

    If you think the RN's going to buy a yank aircraft when they can barely afford to put their existing fleet to sea or even fly the aircraft they've got! The high operational tempo combined with a suite of existing urgent operational requirements means all the money's already gone and the MoD STILL has to reduce expenditure!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    V22 Osprey

    True enought that the Osprey has had it's share of problems, but it does what it does very very well. It has been a costly programme to be sure, but when you go the cheap route you get what you get, as you mentioned with those RN ships you mistakenly call aircraft carriers. That's like calling a 747 a bomber strategic bomber. It would seem to me that a country known for building some of the best aircraft engines ever (Merlin Vs Allison, WWII), that the Osprey would have a better engine life. I'm quite sure that the issue will be resolved by RR and the Osprey will be a fine machine. It must have a lot of potential if you lot want to buy it, but if you would have built real aircraft carriers, well .....

    By the way, sometimes Jarhead is an affectionate term, but it's use should be guarded. I don't usually ask my English friends when's the last time they had a dental checkup.

  15. Robin Baker


    They tried tying a radar to a balloon a long time back, look for Blue Joker or AMES 87.

  16. amlendu

    Toss & Prey

    Is it TossPrey or just Tosser AKA the aircraft that carries Toss

  17. Brett Cammack

    A victim of requirements

    The Osprey was a very good concept before they demanded that it be able to take off and fly on one engine. That added an order of magnitude more complexity to the design as well as weight, cost, fragility, etc.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it some rule in America?

    That anything, no matter how small has got to have a flag-waving-salute-the-stars-and-stripes-gorge-rising patriotic theme?

    'Osprey's AE1107C "Liberty" turboshafts'

    Dear god in heaven above. What will I do when my MkIII "Iwo Jima" bezel gromit fails?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    New Groups

    Perhaps squadrons will be renamed to Bunch as in "a bunch of..."

    Mines the brown one

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @ Anon Coward, V22 Osprey

    "I don't usually ask my English friends when's the last time they had a dental checkup." - Why don't you? I frequently quiz my friends on when they last had their prostate checked or cervix scraped, that's a completely normal thing to do isn't it? Seriously though, I don't recall any references to the American stereotype of the English having bad teeth before "Austin Powers". Mike Myers has a lot to answer for, but he probably wouldn't hear the question over all the morbid obesity, gun fights and crack addiction that every single American obviously has. </irony>

    The French variant of the CVF will be fitted for CATOBAR operations from the outset, so such operations are not ruled out. We have a history of STOVL operations on our carriers (we invented jump-jets), and are partners in the JSF development, so it would be an expensive and pointless U-turn to ditch all that and navalise our conventional aircraft. However it remains an option. I see that as "having our cake and eating it", albeit at additional cost to keep our options open.

    Flying the Jolly Roger as it be on the high seas, aaarrrgh!!!

  21. George
    Gates Halo

    CVF doesn't need any other fixed wing aircraft...

    Helicopters can land and take-off.

    F-35 can land and take-off, has swing role capabilities, has an excellent over-the-horizion radar.

    CVF has an escort of Type 45 with its PAAMs and SAMPSON radar will adequately defend the ship against air attacks.

    Why does everyone look back at the Falklands to point flaws in MoD thinking, there are flaws but their strategic thinking is often pretty good considering the restraints they are held in, the execution is often their biggest flaw.

    Because Bill's Windows for warships will do the job at half the cost.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Snaggle tooth

    RE: "I don't recall any references to the American stereotype of the English having bad teeth before "Austin Powers"

    Nonsense. It may only have come to your attention then but 'english teeth' has been an identifying factor as long as I can remember - Canadian here.

    And I want one of them thar planes for my front lawn. Scare the bejeebers out of the neighbours and keep'em quiet.

  23. b shubin

    Perhaps WANKER?

    Warfighter Advanced Network Knowledge-Enhanced Recon.

    i have personally seen worse (US Army Reserve 1988-94). also makes for good comms-related chatter: "hey, somebody get that WANKER on the horn! what the hell is he doing up there?"

    oddly (snugly?) fitting.

    think i'll head out...mine is the black latex one with the red dragon...thanks.

  24. Joe Cooper

    @Is it some rule in America?

    Nope, we name things after all kinds of things.

    Apache, Comanche - named after people we killed.

    Tomahawk - named after a weapon used by people we killed.

    Raptor, Mustang, Tomcat - animal names!

    Eagle, Falcon, Hornet - More animal names!

    B-One, and it's proposed update, the B-One-R - these are AWESOME names.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ snaggle tooth AC

    ah that explains it

    I must move to Quebec, get my teeth done, and have the rest of canada pay for it. shame they can't provide some teath for their navy, maybe they should move to Quebec too?

  26. Stu


    "The US Marines are so called owing to their dislike of having hair on the sides of their heads."

    According to my ex-Marine friend here at work, the term comes from the "Plain Of Jars" episode of the Vietnam War (or, actually, the so called "Secret War", the Laotian Civil War, 1960 - 1975), when the Marines defended a position there long after everyone else thought they would pull out. Or something like that.

    But then I'm not a Jarhead so what do I know?

  27. E

    @@Anonymous Coward

    Dental care is not socialized in Canada.

    FWIW, to answer your real point:

    Quebec is not that great a recipient of transfer payments historically or per capita. The real problem behind your remark is all the Albertans who begrudge every federal tax dollar, but conveniently forget the rivers of money and tax breaks Ottawa directed at the development of the tar sands and oil fields.

    And, before you start to spew, I live in Calgary, in western Canada all my life. It's just that I have a memory that works and a mind not rented out to the oil companies and Kings Ralph & Ed.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC Quebec

    Oooh-oooh AC knows about the transfer-of-payments (how the rest of Canada supports Quebec). Nasty, sharp-pointed stick that.

    As for Navy and teeth - going by my brother's time in the navy, they seem to spend spare time knocking each others' out. Not surprising when there's not much else to do - having only three ships or so. Oh and mustn't forget the the leaky, non-fire-retardant subs bought from the British.

    Leaky subs bursting into flame? Well they build aircraft carriers with no intention of putting planes on them so what can you expect. A far cry from their days of glory.

    Ah well. They (the British) have those charming, toothy grins with decaying teeth pointing in all directions. Even the women!

    Note: Wife is stunning British girl but moved here when she was quite young so teeth are beautiful.

  29. Chris Coles

    Steam powered nation cannot deliver a steam solution ????

    Creating steam is the easiest thing to do. Our ancestors were doing that from the beginning of the industrial revolution. Secondly, the steam catapult is VERY

    reliable and simple. Suggesting that the space is there for an untried electromagnetic solution that would give out the most amazingly "LOUD" signals as to the location of the carrier, both into the air and the water every time it was used has to be the most stupid thing I have ever heard. If they cannot afford a water tank, a water heater, some pipes and a few valves, then they signal they have no idea how to use the money they have available and have no way to fall back on any other existing aircraft type if they run into trouble with their supply of aircraft for the ships.

    This is another example of the long term failure of the idea that by combining all suppliers into one single entity you save costs. Instead, you have one supplier that raises costs to such a level we have only one obsolete aircraft, (the latest USAF fighters are decades ahead our our one), with the same supplier of the ships and no money for proper equipment for the ships.

    The United Kingdom once had unrivalled aircraft and ship building industries with many competitive suppliers and a wide range of different solutions to our defence needs. You do not have competitive supply of anything without at least three separate competing suppliers. You do not have a free market place or a free nation without a fully competitive industrial base to stand the nation upon.

  30. Peter

    @ George

    Execution is often their biggest flaw?

    Yes George, but only if you think not fitting a ship specifically designed (apparently) to fill an area air defence role (i.e. the Type 42) with any actual weaponry to actually do anything remotely useful in regards to area air defence falls under the slogan "execution is often their biggest flaw."

    I'm sure the survivors of HMS Sheffield feel so much better having read your spirited defence of the MoD's bean counters.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    stewie griffin speaks


    please read in the accent of 'stewie' from family guy:-

    Brilliant! someone delivered on their contract of an 'aircraft carrier', a carrier of aircraft, but no one checked on whether it could let them launch and land? seriously, tears are streaming down my face right now. I mean, wait, i know, just get them to sink it and we can call it the next gen british nuclear sub!

    hang on, seeing as the dollar is so weak why dont we just buy the US Navy instead?, oh right, we're broke, i forgot.

    -a Brit in the USA, (whose teeth are ok but not as perfect as everyone else's here - but he makes up for it with charming witty banter - girls love it.)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What's happening to the UK

    Buying an aircraft carrier without's like buying a prostitute with a chastity belt...and wired teeth...

    Welcome to "great" Britain, police state of spin and despair.

    I don't know why i picked anonymous, they are watching me anyway...

  33. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    Strangely enough

    Strangely enough the GE F404--GE-402 jet engines as fitted to the F/A-18 barely last more then 900 odd flight hours before killing the aircraft with a very fatal engine fire as the Canadian Air Force , along with a number of other foreign users can attest too when they have lost a number of these aircraft before instigating an engine overhaul/replacement program at less then 900 flight hours per engine .

    Apparently during the First Gulf War , this aircraft was the second fastest to be removed from front line service due to certain engine and other assorted problems as the F111's were the first to run out of flight hours and suffered equipment failure in the harsh arid flight conditions , the most reliable was the Fairchild A-10 and showed it could even fly minus half a wing much like the F-15 Eagle .

    Interestingly , no public similar outcry about the short engine plant life has been sighted , so obviously there are two rules one about the yankee crap and that of the imported/foreign owned variety.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @various steam catapult comments

    Steam isn't difficult to make in quantities that might be relevant here. Even if there was a genuine technical/practical reason a steam catapult couldn't be retrofitted, how difficult is it to generate and store enough compressed air to achieve the same result as a steam catapult, with less technical and economic risk than an electro-catapult ? There's more likely another agenda at work here, an agenda related to pork distribution, and as was already pointed out, when the government plays the game in a way that you've only got one supplier to choose from, the taxpayer tends to be the loser, bigtime.

  35. Rory Taylor

    More to Steam than just the pressure

    Much more energy in steam than compressed air, steam is stored as very hot water under pressure.

    Electric catapults? sci-fi twonk for the labs.

    The carriers should be Nuclear powered. Plenty of catapult steam available then. They wouldn't need refuelling every week either.

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