V-22 Ospreys Won’t Return to Full Flight Status Until 2025: US Navy Official

Hundreds of V-22 Osprey aircraft across all branches of the US military will not be allowed to return to full flight status until at least mid-2025.

This was announced by US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) chief Vice Adm. Carl Chebi following a string of crashes that killed 20 troops in a span of just two years.

Speaking before lawmakers at a recent House oversight hearing, the NAVAIR boss said the command will need at least another six to nine months before it will be able to complete all safety and performance assessments concerning the tiltrotor aircraft.

Work on the persistent clutch failure that reportedly caused the June 2022 crash in California is also still underway, thus the extension of restricted flight status.

“I will not certify the V-22 to return to unrestricted flight operations until I am satisfied that we have sufficiently addressed the issues that may affect the safety of the aircraft,” Chebi stated.

Nearly 400 Ospreys are expected to be affected by this decision.

‘64 Service Members Killed’

According to Chebi, a total of 64 service members have been killed and another 93 have been injured in Osprey-related accidents since the aircraft’s induction in 2007.

But lawmakers sounded the alarm when four fatal crashes occurred from March 2022 to November 2023, including one off the coast of Japan that killed eight American soldiers.

The incident prompted both Tokyo and Washington to ground their V-22 fleets while investigations were being conducted.

In March, the US military cleared the Ospreys to start flying again but only under a “limited envelope,” meaning the aircraft is not allowed to carry out missions more than 30 minutes away from a suitable airfield.

An MV-22 Osprey with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 363, May 15, 2017. Image: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Becky L. Calhoun

Growing Frustrations

In December 2023, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability announced it was conducting a separate investigation into the troubled V-22 program.

However, frustrations grew as several lawmakers lamented the lack of access to safety information records of the Bell-Boeing multi-mission aircraft.

Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts has warned the US military that they might call off the entire V-22 Osprey program if another accident happens.

“The repeated drumbeat of fatalities is totally unacceptable,” he said. “What do you think the consequences will be if we have another V-22 go down and we lose more brave Marines or airmen? If another Osprey goes down, we’re done. This program’s done!”

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