Chinook News
Evolving

Coming Soon: Increased Osprey Fire-Power

By Andrew H. Lee

Osprey

BAE Systems Photo

ramp mounted gun

BAE Systems Photo

As MV-22 and CV-22 Osprey deployments increase in frequency, variety and risk-profile over the coming months, expect the aircraft to soon feature increased fire-power.

In mid-2009, the Marines began operational testing of a new belly-mounted turret gun.  The gun, a GAU-17, 7.62mm caliber mini-gun made by BAE Systems, will give equipped Ospreys 360-degrees of protection while engaged in especially dangerous missions.  Once operational, CV-22s are expected to be outfitted with the new belly-gun as well. 

In addition, both the Marines and Air Force Special Operations Command have trained personnel on the use of ramp-mounted, 50-caliber guns, which provide improved defensive range from the rear of the aircraft.  To date, MV and CV-22 Ospreys dispatched to high-risk areas were fitted with a single ramp-mounted, M240 machine gun.

The increased fire-power will allow the Osprey to add to its already impressive list of mission capabilities.  More importantly, the two new guns will give the pilots and soldiers who depend on the aircraft even greater confidence in its abilities to execute missions and return safely to base when those missions are accomplished.  (Nov. 2009)