By By Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief | December 9, 2014
The ability to provide the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey with heavier firepower other than a ramp mounted machine gun has taken a step forward with the demonstration of forward-firing munitions at the Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Ariz. A test was carried out in November and was described as “a great success” by Vince Tobin, vice president and program manager for the Bell Boeing V-22.
A brief video clip showed a projectile being fired from a launcher on the lower left-hand side of an MV-22. A number of 2.75in rockets were fired during the test.
Photo courtesy Bell Helicopter
The concept of up-arming the V-22 is not a new one. BAE Systems developed and flight qualified an Interim Defense Weapon System (IDWS) which comprised a under fuselage mounted, remote controlled 7.62 mm mini-gun. It is capable of 360-degree rotation and can fire at 3,000 rounds per minute over a range of 1,500 meters. However, the weight of the system including weapon, aiming device and ammunition has meant that is has rarely been deployed on the U.S. Marine Corps or Air Force Special Forces Ospreys.
“Integrating a forward firing capability to the Osprey will increase its mission set,” said Tobin, a factor which potentially increases its appeal to international customers along with ongoing trials for air-to-air refueling.
At the end of Q3 2014, Bell Boeing had delivered 242 MV-22 tiltrotor for the Marine Corps and 44 CV-22 for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).