I know that Christian loves the Osprey. I know that lots of people love the Osprey. And what's not to love, right? It's a plane! It's a helicopter! It's a tilt-rotor aircraft! And believe me you, there is nothing worse than having to choose between one or the other and ALWAYS having to have both around. SUCH a drag.) And now it is an armed plane/helicopter! Who says we can't have it all?
Dave Adamiak of BAE Systems explains more about this new addition to America's uber-aircraft:
The major factor in determining what weapon with which to fit the Osprey was size limitation, he said.
The entire system needed to fit into two holes in the aircraft's floor, each known as a "hell hole," which is used to attach cables to external cargo, such as a Humvee, Adamiak explained.
Weapon systems such as the .50-caliber machine gun were simply too big to fit in the space available, he said.
The weapon system weighs between 700 and 800 pounds, meaning the Osprey will have two to three fewer seats for troops, Adamiak said.
Wait a minute. Where have I heard this before?
That's when I realized that the Osprey is like the M2 Bradley of the skies.
Did anyone here ever see "The Pentagon Wars"? It was an HBO movie loosely based upon USAF Col. James Burton's book about his years at the Pentagon in the early 1980s. Although the movie is about the politics of defense acquisitions more generally (from the 1950s onward), it also about the "Bradley Fighting Vehicle" specifically. The Bradley went through many manifestations, starting out as a troop carrier, evolving into a tank, attempting to be amphibious at one point, and ultimately becoming the "fighting vehicle" that we know it as today.
As an aside, lest you think the Pentagon Wars is not worth watching, consider the following:
[Conversation after redesigning the Bradley to carry a gun turret]
Col. Robert Laurel Smith: That's one hell of a cannon.
Jones: That's the problem.
Col. Robert Laurel Smith: What is?
Jones: You go out on the battlefield with this pecker sticking out of your turret, and the enemy's going to unload on you with everything they got. Might as well put a big red bulls eye on the side.
Col. Robert Laurel Smith: But it's a troop carrier, not a tank.
Jones: Do you want me to put a sign on it in fifty languages, "I am a troop carrier, not a tank. Please don't shoot at me?"
I see a sequel coming.