June 24, 2007

Mini Ospreys for Coasties PLEASE!

  The V22 Osprey has had a terrible time in development, but its predecessor the Bell XV 15 was one of the safest and most successful VSTOL  aircraft prototype.


 The US Coast Guard was very interested, it was EXACTLY the right size, speed and range for them,  but the senior sea service could not afford enough to make production viable for Bell, they tried to interest the other services for a bulk buy....the other services decided that an enlarged version would be a perfect fit for them and the V22 was ordered....the prototype was spectacularly successful so makin' it bigger should be cheap right?

Well no....

  At least part of the problems stemmed from the fact that the mechanics of the thing did not scale up easily. The original plane, who's outstanding success had inspired its trouble plagued stepchild languished as investors shied away...put off by the V22s myriad problems and the single crash of an XV 15 around 1992.

Now, according to this Defense Tech article,  Bell has entered into a joint production agreement with Augusta and a polished version of the XV 15 is entering production as the Bell Augusta 609.

Here is video from the DT Article...with really crappy music.



More on the Bell Augusta 609 from no less an impartial source that the Bell/Augusta marketing department here.

Global Security has a page on the currently apocryphal HV609 here.


An admittedly cursory Google search turns up little beyond marketing. The history of the Coast Guard and the XV15 was related to me by an officer who had previously been an airdale and participated in the program.

I would hope that the CG could get a lot of these as they would seem to fit their mission requirements quite well, but the fact that the first deliveries are not scheduled until 2011 may be a deal breaker, the USCG needs aircraft NOW as its current fleet is hard pressed.

Still one can hope.


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