Tag Archives: MV-22B Osprey

Intrepid Tiger II

The U.S. Marine Corps’ newest Intrepid Tiger II (IT II) Electronic Warfare (EW) capability flew for the first time on an MV-22B Osprey June 15.

MV-22B Osprey
The MV-22B Osprey flies for the first time June 15 with the latest Intrepid Tiger II (V)4 (IT II) Electronic Warfare payload. This marked the start of developmental flight testing for IT II (V)4 and the first time the payload is mounted internally on an aircraft (U.S. Navy photo)

«The significance of this developmental test flight was two-fold», said U.S. Navy Captain Michael Orr, Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) Systems (PMA-234) program manager. «Not only was this the first time we’ve integrated the Intrepid Tiger II capability onto an Osprey but also the first time the capability has been incorporated internal to a platform».

PMA-234 Marine Air-Ground Task Force EW Team Lead Bill Mellen said the typical, externally mounted pod was not an option because the MV-22B Osprey tilt rotor aircraft does not have traditional wing stations from which to mount podded payloads. The AN/ALQ-231(V)4 IT II system’s upgraded design consists of a roll-on/roll-off rack-mounted payload, controlled from a laptop in the aircraft cabin.

The IT II is a precision, on-demand, EW weapon system designed to provide Marine Corps fixed and rotary wing aircraft with an organic, distributed, and networked EW payload that can be controlled from the cockpit or by a ground operator.

The (V)4 system design will include state-of-the art upgrades, utilizing government and commercial-off-the-shelf technologies and jammer techniques that will allow the Marine Corps to keep pace with the ever-evolving threats on the battlefield, and provide the needed adaptability to allow for future iterations of expanded frequency coverage and advanced capabilities, said Mellen.

«As the 21st Century Battlespace becomes more complex and more contested, military assets must support themselves across the entire spectrum of threats», said U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Brian Taylor, MV-22B Osprey Joint Program Office program manager. «The fielding of this upgrade provides a significant and incremental improvement in the V-22’s organic electronic warfare capability, providing commanders more options to support our Marine Corps ground forces. This improves both operational safety to our aircrews and operational success to the commander, our ultimate goals in everything we do».

Following successful integration on the MV-22B Osprey, the IT II team will further expand the V4 design to include a counter-radar capability on the KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, hoping to leverage much of the MV-22B Osprey technology, including the in-cabin rack-mounted payload design, Mellen said.

The IT II (V)4 is scheduled to begin fleet deliveries for the MV-22B Osprey in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 to achieve Initial Operating Capability by the end of FY24 with an inventory objective of 42 total systems.

The IT II (V)1 is flown on the AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 A++/C/D Hornets, and KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, while the IT II (V)3 is flown on the UH-1Y Huey helicopter.

AEA Systems Program Office is responsible for acquiring, delivering, and sustaining AEA systems that provides combatant commanders with EW capabilities that are critical to operational mission success.

Marines Take to Sky

Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 (VMM-365) conducted section confined area landings and a M2 Browning .50-Cal machine gun shoot from Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, February 10. Marines with the unit flew two MV-22B Ospreys to a landing zone for familiarization flight training, which allowed pilots to practice landings. After practicing CALs, the crew flew off the coast to a safe distance in order to practice shooting the machine gun from the back of the aircraft.

Lance Cpl. Jarod L. Smith, a crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365, fires a mounted M2 Browning .50-caliber machine gun from the back of the MV-22B Osprey
Lance Cpl. Jarod L. Smith, a crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365, fires a mounted M2 Browning .50-caliber machine gun from the back of the MV-22B Osprey

Prior to their flight, the pilots and crew gave a brief which covered information about the aircraft’s capabilities, as well as factors that may affect the flight, such as current and expected weather conditions. The crew conducted a thorough inspection of their Osprey and after the aircraft was deemed safe and ready for flight, they took to the sky. «Section CALs is just one of the biggest basic building blocks into what we do», said Captain Edward K. Williams, a pilot with the unit. «You have got to master that before you can get three or four aircraft into a zone and then move on to doing that at night».

The pilots and crew traveled to a nearby landing zone to practice landings and take-offs. For this part of the flight there were two MV-22B Ospreys landing within close vicinity. «The purpose of the training today was mainly proficiency», said Lance Corporal Jarod L. Smith, a crew chief with the unit. He explained how of the two aircraft, one had fairly experienced pilots and crew but the other aircraft had a newer pilot who was getting his initial code.

Smith explained that pilots acquire different codes for the flights they conduct. Once the initial CALs flight was completed, the Marines returned to the hangar to refuel and then flew out for a .50-caliber machine gun shoot. «The tail guns are important because they are our primary weapon», said Williams. «If there is a threat in the zone the crew chiefs need to be proficient to be able to engage a threat without prior notice».

The .50-caliber machine gun was mounted on a pivot in the back of the Osprey. The pivot allows the weapon operator to take advantage of a wide angle to effectively engage any target. Smith explained how firing these larger rounds offer more penetration than other munitions and allow the gunner to engage enemies at greater distances.

The Osprey made several passes allowing each of the crew members in the back to practice firing the weapon system. Each pass involved firing into an area of the ocean while keeping a tight group on the rounds fired.

Williams explained how despite this training being conducted on a regular basis it is still not routine. Every time Marines fly, the training requires the same amount of preflight planning and briefing. A lot of work goes into preflight planning as well as debriefs.

Debriefs allow pilots and crew chiefs to assess their flights and determine how to improve their next flight. Even if the flight goes according to plan, Marines always look for ways to improve for future operations. «Training is important because as Marines we pride ourselves in readiness», said Smith. «We need to be proficient in confined area landings because that is what you’re going to conduct when you’re anywhere».