The U.S. Marine Corps has deployed the first detachment of MV-22B Osprey tilt rotor aircraft to Camp Bastion, in Hellmand province, Afghanistan. The ten aircraft are supporting Task Force Leatherneck area of operations. The aircraft are part of the U.S. 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, deployed aboard USS Bataan in the Indian Ocean.

The first wave of MV-22B ‘Osprey’ entering the Taskforce Helmand area of operation. Making military history, the Osprey are the first of their kind to be used in Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Thomas J. Hermesman)

This video provides an initial report about the Osprey MV-22B in Iraq. Official U.S. Defense Department video.

The new aircraft are capable of flying faster than helicopters, and operate more effectively at high, hot desert conditions. The Ospreys were launched from the Batan in three waves, making the 510 nautical mile flight in just over two hours. The Ospreys, which formed the bulk of VMM-263 (Rein) with the 22nd MEU will join Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 as part of MEB-Afghanistan’s aviation combat element, Marine Aircraft Group 40.

The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Batan (LHD 5) launched 10 MV-22B Ospreys from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit to fly into Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Nov. 6, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Before their deployment to the Indian Ocean, the Batan and its Ospreys participated in Bright Star 2009, the joint U.S. - Egyptian exercise. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

The 22nd MEU was the first Marine Expeditionary Unit to conduct a ship-based deployment with the tiltrotor aircraft. VMM-263 (Rein) attached to the MEU in September, 2008, and was also the first squadron to deploy with the aircraft to Iraq in 2007. The recent mission to the Indian Ocean was the first operational deployment abroad the amphibious landing ships.

A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft crashed in southeastern Afghanistan Thursday April 8, 2010 killing four – the three crew members and a government contractor. The CV-22 regularly operates with the Air Force’s Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Officials said the aircraft was carrying U.S. troops when it crashed seven miles west of Qalat City in Zabul province. The injured were transported to a nearby base for medical treatment.

Conclusion of the the first tour of the MV-22 Osprey in Anbar, western Iraq where the aircraft operated with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd). .S. Marines Video.

According to ISAF announcement, the aircraft went down after dark,  about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Qalat, the capital of Zabul province. This event was the first combat loss of the Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. The Taliban claimed its forces have shot down the aircraft but NATO officials said the cause of the crash is unknown and that an investigation is underway. The Taliban regularly take responsibility anytime a coalition aircraft crashes, often after a NATO press release has been issued. In this case, the Taliban claimed responsibility long before NATO acknowledged the crash. A U.S. Air Force investigation ruled out such possibilityion the accident report published December 17, 2010.


An MV-22B Osprey receives aerial refuelling from a Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules during an exercise over Yuma, Arizona. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon )

The CV-22, a modified version of the Marine Corps MV-22, conducts long-range infiltration and resupply for U.S. forces. It employs tilt-rotor technology that allows it to take off and land as a helicopter, and fly like a fixed-wing aircraft.

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