At its inception in the early 1990s, the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor was so controversial that Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney repeatedly tried to terminate it. He didn’t succeed, because Congress and the Marine Corps could see the game-changing potential of an aircraft that combined the vertical agility of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing plane. Looking back today, ten years after the Osprey first became operational with the Marine Corps, it is clear V-22 is one of the few unmitigated successes that the military acquisition system has produced since 9-11. One by one, each of the military services has come around to recognizing the transformational power of tiltrotors, and as a result it is possible that eventually all of the services grouped within the Department of Defense will be operating some version of the technology that the Osprey pioneered. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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