When Libyan extremists attacked two U.S. sites in Benghazi in 2012, friendly forces in the region were unable to respond quickly. Now, the Marines — America’s first responders to overseas crises — have found a way of dealing effectively with such incidents in the future. They have organized a “Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force” around the unique capabilities of the MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor that has proven its ability to cover vast distances quickly in North Africa — a region bigger than the continental United States. Even operating out of bases in Southern Europe, which places the Ospreys farther away from Africa than basing on ships in the Mediterranean would, the long reach and high speed of MV-22B makes it unlikely the joint force will have difficulty responding fast to future emergencies in the area. Ospreys can cover a thousand miles in less than four hours without refueling, and when they arrive at their destinations, they can pivot their rotors to land anywhere that is tactically convenient. With nearly 200,000 flight hours accomplished after numerous overseas deployments, MV-22B is also turning out to be the safest airframe in the Marine aviation fleet. I have written a commentary for Forbes about the unique flexibility and versatility that MV-22B affords the Marine Corps in responding to crises that you can read here.
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