I used to be of the opinion that tilt-rotor aircraft would be in the Marine Corps future, but that the V-22 Osprey wasn’t the right plane-chopper-thing. Too expensive, too unreliable — another case of young technology being pushed too far. Here’s more evidence I got that one wrong:
The MV-22s proved easier to maintain than the CH-46 aircraft they are replacing. The MV-22s needed 9.5 man hours of maintenance for each hour in the air, versus 24 hours of maintenance for each hour the CH-46s fly. These helicopters are all over twenty years old, which adds a few hours to their maintenance requirements. While the MV-22 required less maintenance than expected, the dust and sand in Iraq led to some engines being replaced earlier than expected.
Those complicated tilt-rotors require less maintenance time than the helicopters they’re replacing? That’s one hell of a plane-chopper-thing.