George Bush has found something new and absurd to spend $35 billion on rather than making the big tobacco industry pay $35 billion in taxes to expand children's health care. The Bush White House is pushing for $35 billion in additional funds for the V-22 Osprey program, a deadly and poorly designed tilt-rotor design military aircraft able to land like a helicopter, and highly vulnerable to being shot down over Iraq by insurgents. Iranian military developers will also have little trouble designing some weapon for use by insurgents to combat the Osprey as well.
Unlike helicopters which have forward mounted guns, the V-22 Osprey has no front mounted guns, and is highly vulnerable to small arms fire and rocket attacks aimed at the front of the Osprey. The V-22 Osprey does a have a rear mounted gun, but that does little to prevent attacks aimed at the front or sides of the aircraft.
The V-22 Osprey is a joint product of Boeing Helicopter and Bell Helicopter Texron. Alan Mulally, who has acted as President and CEO of both Boeing and the Ford Motor Company has donated over $22,000 to politicians including George Bush's campaign from the 1997 to 2007 election periods. Mulally has also split much of his donations towards sitting politicians such as Washington state members of the Congress and Senate as well, including some Democrats, to bolster the influence of Boeing as well.
These Rolls Royce engined aircraft will soon join the HumVee as the latest unsuitable and potentially deadly military vehicle to join the fight in Iraq. The Marines intend to use 10 squadrons of these highly vulnerable and dangerous troop transport vehicles to send small groups of 24 Marines as well as equipment into hostile areas. However, the heavily gun protected gunship helicopters have proven themselves most effective for these type of transport missions as well as rocket attacks on insurgents. The V-22 Ospreys cost $70 million per unit. The AH-64 Apache gunship helicopters have far superior flight safety records and gunfire power than the V-22 Ospreys, and only cost $18 million a copy by comparison. There is a program underway to add a front mounted gun to the Osprey program, but so far the gun and rocket capability of the Apache helicopters is still far better able to ward off any insurgent attacks.
The V-22 Osprey program has been saddled with many fatal accidents in peacetime service here in the U.S., and has never been really tested in real war service so far. The first of the V-22 Ospreys are now being deployed to Iraq to Marines for transport use, but with the concerns about the Osprey being highly vulnerable to attacks from insurgents and serious safety problems due to the controversial design, these new military vehicles could cause significant American deaths through either accidents or hostile attacks from small arms fire and RPGs.
When the V-22 Osprey is in full aircraft engine mode, it can pick up a top speed of 345mph. However the vehicle is highly vulnerable while in the very slow "helicopter" mode and only flying at just a few mph. Much of the violence in Irag has been very close to the Baghdad province, so it is unclear how the V-22 Osprey will have any advantages over the battle-proven helicopter gunships since much of this close-in combat role will likely involve the less safe "helicopter" mode of the Ospreys. These $70 million dollar V-22 Osprey aircraft might just become the latest military blunder for this Iraq War that has already cost more than $448 billion dollars and costs $271 million dollars a day to continue.
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