V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor Needs a New Pair of Shoes (err, Engines)

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Marine Col. M. D. Mulhern head of the V-22 Osprey program has said that the Rolls-Royce AE 1107C Liberty engines used to power the aircraft are wearing out faster than expected in a story that appeared in the Fort Worth Star Telegraph. This means that the Osprey, which took 25 years and over $20 billion to develop, finally becoming operational in 2006 and deploying to Iraq last October, may now need a new set of engines.

In a story over on Air Force magazine's website, it says that, "Several engine components are not enduring as long as originally predicted. Engine compressors especially are eroding earlier than expected due to power demands that force the engines to run hotter, Mulhern noted. New additions to the aircraft, such as a directional infrared countermeasures systems and forward firing gun, will add weight, thereby placing even more demand on the engines, Mulhern said."

Rolls Royce, on the other hand claims that the engines have "met or exceeded all performance specifications."

Philip Coyle, former chief of the Pentagon's weapons testing division, in a recent CNN story focused on how the Osprey is finding redemption in Iraq was quoted as saying, "It seems like every time one problem is fixed another one comes along, and I just don't think the program will be able to get over that."

"The program is like a bad poker hand. They keep putting money into it when they should have spent it on a new helicopter system."

Well, it is likely just too late now. DoD will not kill the program. The only question is how much money its going to take to buy 900 or so new engines.

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