Went to the 2008 Modern Day Marine expo today down at Quantico and got a ton of good material I'll be shooting your way over the next couple days.
First, I attended a breakfast meeting with the folks from BAE Systems. There was an interesting brief on the Remote Guardian System, that underbelly Gatling gun the company is developing for the MV and CV-22.
I've posted a video of Biz Dev director Dave Adamiak explaining the components and I'll post another soon after that shows the system in use on a simulator. I did press Dave on the issue of the Corps' reluctance to use powered defensive weapons on their rotorcraft for fear that a loss of power would leave the aircraft vulnerable. That's why for years the Corps had rejected rotary cannon on their helos in favor of the trusted, Marine-proof "Ma Deuce."
Dave, rightly I think, admitted the Corps was leery but explained that there is no better solution based on the Osprey's design. The tail gun will probably stay, he said, since the Guardian has to be retracted when the V-22 lands.
He said BAE has flown the Guardian on an AFSOC CV-22 and all is going well there. Clearly the Osprey needs a defensive weapon, but will this complex system prove itself Marine-proof enough to be cost-effective in the long run?