10/12/2013: In September 2013, VMX-22 and the MARSOC participated in testing the capabilities of the Osprey and its upgraded software to perform long range and high altitude rescue missions.
According to the CO of the squadron, Col. Michael Orr:
As part of our operational test on a new Osprey software, we completed a 1400 mile TRAP mission with members of the Marine Special Operations command.
Launched from New River, conducted two aerial refuelings, and landed within a few meters of isolated personnel in the Pinon Canyon training area in Colorado.
We used long-range secure communications to receive updates on the “survivors” from a Joint Personnel Recovery Center in New River, NC.
And according to a USMC story:
“VMX-22 executed all planned testing and collected a great amount of data at the higher-density altitude,” said Maj. Sam Clark, VMX-22 projects officer.
Three MV-22B Ospreys took off early Friday morning and completed a 1,350-nautical mile TRAP mission, followed by shorter TRAP exercises.
“We focused on the TRAP mission starting with the long-range mission from New River to Pinion Canyon; the other missions conducted were shorter range TRAP missions to Pinion Canyon and Leadville, Colo.,” said Clark. “The longer TRAP mission provided the needed mission profile for our test to give us a broad range of test data that could be collected.”
MV-22B Osprey software update helped the pilots of VMX-22 have more control over the cyclic, commonly referred to as the “stick” while hovering 20-30 feet above the ground; the update also cleared up some other glitches within the system.
The photos were shot during the exercise and are credited to Lance Cpl. Ryan G. Coleman.
We will publish an interview with Col. Orr later this month on the exercise and its significance.
For our comprehensive look at the Osprey and associated changes in the USMC creating new concepts of operations see our new edition of the Three Dimensional Warriors.