By Robbin Laird
Recently, I had a chance to talk with Captain Dewon “Chainsaw” Chaney, the Commander of COMVRMWING (or Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing).
My last conversation was in April of this year, and the first one last year.
With the CMV-22B to be first deployed on the USS Carl Vinson later this year, the pairing of the F-35C with the CMV-22B providing a significant upgrade to the air wing onboard the carrier is close to becoming a reality.
According to Captain Chaney, “operational test requirements for the CMV-22B are almost complete.”
And they are on track for deployment with the Vinson.
We then discussed the challenge for the flight deck personnel in preparing for the CMV-22B.
Unlike the C-2, the new aircraft is not a catapult aircraft, and we discussed how the flight deck personnel are adjusting to the coming of the Osprey to the flight deck.
Captain Chaney noted that the major adjustment was to being prepared for the downwash generated by the landing of the Osprey on the flight deck.
“Because of the downwash created by a helicopter, some similar things happen when a V-22 lands.
“That requires canopy disciplines, panel disciplines, in terms not having have open panels, and any loose gear on the deck as the Osprey comes in.
“That’s the biggest mindset shift for the flight deck personnel.”
In the scheme of things, the Navy’s Osprey then is not providing unknown challenges for flight deck operations.
And because the aircraft can land day or night, it comes, and it goes. It is not anticipated to be spending its time on the flight deck in any case.
This reaches into the maintenance side of the equation as well.
The vast majority of maintenance will be done ashore at Navy maintenance facilities.
Indeed, “Chainsaw” had just returned from an overseas trip working with ashore installations and personnel to prepare for the coming of the Navy’s Osprey.
I did suggest that the commonality between the USMC and U.S. Navy’s Ospreys provided some options for how to manage at sea maintenance as well.
For example, I was struck when onboard the LHA-6 class how the Osprey can be maintained below the flight deck. Although the Navy has not yet focused on this idea, it clearly could be done, notably as the focus on wider fleet operations encompassing the amphibious fleet gets worked.
As Captain Chaney noted: “There is much in common between the two Osprey variants.
“Structurally, there are not many parts different between the two variants.
“The biggest difference between the two variants are the fuel cells.
“The fuel cells on the Navy’s version are larger and thus require different parts.”
“Chainsaw” did note that because the preparation for deployment onboard the Vinson was being worked off the coast of Southern California, there were lessons yet to be learned in the challenging waters of the wider Pacific.
“You have to remember that most of the training has happened off of the coast of Southern California.
“There really hasn’t been a lot of bad weather or pitching and rolling decks.
“But I don’t anticipate that with all of the years of Osprey experience under the Marine Corps and Navy’s belt that these challenges are show stoppers.”
Having spent significant time at the Navy’s air warfare center or NAWDC, I asked “Chainsaw” where he thought the Osprey would fit in.
It must be remembered that NAWDC is in transition as the Navy works the broader blue water fleet combat operations.
With the new non-N programs, MISRs and dynamic targeting, how would an Osprey affect fleet operations?
According to “Chainsaw,” the CMV-22B and its impact on the fleet and NAWDC are cleverly works in progress.
He believed that the aircraft would be slotted into the rotary wing segment of NAWDC initially.
But the Osprey is anything but a rotorcraft and here Captain Chaney noted that the coming of the Osprey provided a significant opportunity for innovation for both the fleet and NAWDC.
With the Osprey TTP development at NAWDC, it will significantly impact fixed and rotorcraft thinking about the current force and the future force.
In other words, it is part of what I have referred earlier as the integratable air wing, or as the air wing gets new platforms, it is expanding options, not simply adding replacement aircraft to current wing or carrier ops.
It is part of the template for change for the Navy’s tiltrotor and rotorcraft communities.
Operating in concert with the CMV-22B will help the Navy’s rotorcraft community reshape their template to get better now and to prepare for the future more effectively.
A final issue we discussed was the way ahead for the CMV-22B within the fleet.
Numbers of aircraft are an issue as the Navy has to train their maintainers and to be able to have aircraft involved air wing transformation in places like NAWDC.
I have focused in other articles on ways the CMV-22B could support wider fleet operations, as it does not need to land only on carriers enabled with special launch and recovery systems.
As “Chainsaw” put it: “The Osprey provides flexible options for austere support.
“I think we’re going to need that as we look toward the future and where we’re potentially going to operate, where we may be forced to operate, depending on the evolving combat situation.”
Video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Josiah Kunkle
USS Carl Vinson
Sailors assigned to Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and Carrier Air Wing TWO conduct flight operations with the CMV-22B Osprey from the “Titans” of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30.
Featured Photo: A Navy CMV-22B Osprey from the “Titans” of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 fuels a MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter, assigned to the “Black Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, stationed in San Diego. The CMV-22B is the U.S. Navy version of the Osprey, a multi-engine, dual-piloted, self-deployable, medium lift, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tilt-rotor aircraft. The Air Delivered Ground Refueling (ADGR) evolution was a first for HSC 4, en route to Naval Air Station Fallon. Air Wing Fallon is part of the predeployment training cycle for Navy’s carrier air wings. HSC-4, along with VFA-2, VFA-192, VFA-113, VFA-147, VAQ-136, VAW-113, and HSM-78 comprise CVW-2 and are detached to NAS Fallon in order to sharpen their warfighting readiness through a rigorous 5-week curriculum. The training conducted during Air Wing Fallon drives air wing integration and ensures that all CVW-2 squadrons are ready to conduct the full range of military operations when they deploy later this year. HSC 4 provides vertical lift search and rescue, logistics, anti-surface warfare, special operations forces support, and combat search and rescue capabilities.
EL CENTRO, CA, UNITED STATES
Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
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