Air Force Special Operations CV-22 Osprey Crashes In Afghanistan (Updated)

An Air Force Special Operations version of the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, designated CV-22, crashed in southeastern Afghanistan Friday, killing four and injuring others. Its the first deadly crash of an Osprey since it entered operational service in 2006 and its first crash in a combat zone. The cause of the crash is under investigation. The Taliban issued their customary claim that they shot the Osprey down; most such claims are later discredited.

-- Greg

Just to add to Greg's post:  Remember the CV-22 is a SOCOM asset flown by AFSOC.  It has a significantly different range of missions than its Marine counterpart.  The CV is a replacement for the "Pave Low" H-53 variant.  The CV has a better EW suite (SIRFC/DIRCM) and longer range because of greater fuel capacity.  It also costs about $8 million more per copy ($76 versus $68).

(Update April 11)  Our buddy Chris Castelli at Inside Defense is reporting that NATO sources have said that there was a firefight "near the crash scene," which increases the possibility that the Osprey was downed by enemy fire.  SIRFC/DIRCM is supposed to increase survivability in a SAM environment.  Small arms fire is another matter . . .

Chris also reported that the wreckage was destroyed in accordance with SOP when classified gear is associated with a crash site.  Obviously, that's going to make the mishap investigators' job a little tougher . .  or easier depending on your point of view.

-- Ward

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