Air Transportation: November 5, 2002


The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) wants to buy 50 V-22 tilt rotor aircraft. The V-22 has had a lot of testing problems. Maintenance people who have worked on it say the V-22 will be a nightmare to keep operating. The Department of Defense maintains that this is normal teething problems for a new technology. That may be true, but testing has been halted for a year and is not expected to start again for at least another six months. Many in the Department of Defense want to cancel the V-22. But SOCOM says the problems they had moving around in Afghanistan using helicopters could have been avoided if the V-22 had been available. Each V-22 is expected to cost about $100 million. When the project was begun, per unit cost was estimated to be $45 million (in current dollars. Originally, 923 V-22s were to be built. Currently, less than half that amount are wanted. 


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