Something unusual happened in December, shortly after a Jordanian fighter pilot whose plane had crashed was captured by ISIS militants in Syria. The United Arab Emirates, an early participant in the anti-ISIS bombing campaign, said it would cease air operations until the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor was deployed nearby to conduct search-and-rescue operations when pilots were downed. This would appear to be one more indication that the V-22 is setting a new global standard for tactical flexibility. In January, it was disclosed the U.S. Navy had embraced Osprey as its future solution for delivering time-sensitive cargo to the fleet. The same month, Japan’s parliament approved a defense budget making that country the first U.S. ally to buy the V-22. Others will follow. Meanwhile, Marine Expeditionary Units continue to expand the spectrum of overseas missions they can perform as the full potential of tilt-rotor technology is realized. No doubt about it, Osprey is living up to its billing as a truly transformational airframe. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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