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Final Supplemental Environmental Assessment of Proposed Actions by the 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

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The mission of the CV-22 aircraft is similar to that of the MH-53 helicopters that were flown at Kirtland AFB through June 2007, but the CV-22 has several major advantages over the older helicopters. The CV-22 aircraft can cruise twice as fast and over twice as far as the MH-53 helicopter without refueling, and it is capable of flying at altitudes of 25,000 feet, which is twice the maximum ceiling of the MH-53 helicopter. These improvements result in an aircraft that can be used to fight and survive in a wider variety of environments. A cost and operational analysis conducted in 1993 by the Center for Naval Analyses determined that the combat survivability of the CV-22 aircraft was 3.5 times greater than that of the MH-53 series helicopter. Beddown of the CV-22 aircraft consists of adding a total of seven CV-22 aircraft to the inventory at Kirtland AFB beginning with three aircraft in FY 2006, one in FY 2007, one in FY 2010, and the final two in FY 2011. After the first four aircraft are delivered to Kirtland AFB, one additional aircraft might be acquired to help train aircrew on a temporary basis. When that aircraft is no longer needed, it would be delivered to Hurlburt Field in Florida to be permanently bedded down there. The need for one additional aircraft might continue for up to three years. Implementation of the Proposed Action would involve the beddown of seven CV-22 aircraft decreases in the overall number of hours and sorties flown and decreases in overall operations. The total number of aircraft operated by the 58 SOW would change over time as the CV-22 aircraft beddown and the drawdown of the MH-53 helicopters occurs. The proposed beddown action would result in an overall decrease in training, maintenance, and support personnel because the MH-53 helicopters were fully removed from the USAF inventory in June 2007 while the full inventory of seven CV-22 aircraft is not expected until FY 2011. Additionally, there would be fewer sorties and hours flown by

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Environmental Health and Safety

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