V-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor Aircraft
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The V-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter and flies like a plane by tilting its wing-mounted rotors to function as propellers. Begun in FY1982 by the Army and now funded in part by the Air Force, the V-22 has been primarily a Marine Corps program funded by the Navy Department. The aircraft is produced by Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing Helicopters, with engines produced by Rolls-RoyceAllison. Flight testing and operational evaluation of pre-production V-22s began in early 1997, with procurement of production aircraft approved in April 1997. Congress has supported the V-22 as a new technology with multi-service military applications as well as various civilian uses if derivatives of this tilt-rotor aircraft are developed for civil aviation with potential commercial and foreign sales implications. Critics of the V-22 have questioned its affordability and argued that its performance would not justify the cost of procuring this new aircraft in the quantity projected. Also, in light of several accidents, and a reported cover-up, critics argue that the tilt-rotor technology is too risky, while supporters contend that risks are being adequately addressed under a revamped program. This report will be updated.
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