A DOD inspector general report lists 'major deficiencies' in IT systems that received a waiver during testing of the Marines' Osprey aircraft
An internal Pentagon study of the Marine Corps' developmental V-22 Osprey
aircraft found that as many as 22 "major deficiencies" in on-board systems
received temporary waivers during testing and evaluation of the aircraft.
The report, released Aug. 15 by the Defense Department's inspector general,
concluded that because so many major deficiencies had been waived during
testing, the aircraft may not be capable of performing all of its
required missions once fully fielded. The study also concluded that some
of the deficiencies represent "a severe hazard to the weapon system or personnel."
"Beginning full-rate production at the same time that major deficiencies
are still undergoing testing could result in the V-22 program's incurring
additional costs to correct deficiencies in existing aircraft," the report
The V-22 Osprey Joint Advanced Vertical Aircraft acts like a helicopter
during takeoff and landing. Once in the air, it converts the position of
its engines to a turboprop aircraft. Although the IG report found that the
aircraft had not been cleared to conduct combat maneuvers, an Osprey crashed
April 18 during a tactical exercise in Arizona, killing all 19 Marines aboard.
In a written response to the study, Marine Corps and Navy officials
challenged the IG's findings and claimed that there are not 22 major deficiencies
in the aircraft's operational effectiveness, "and the deficiencies described
are in no way safety-related." Officials added that no operational requirements
had been waived and that the V-22 program office believes all key performance
parameters will be met.
The Navy and Marines plan to complete a detailed review of all testing
waivers requested by the program by September. Corrections to many of the
identified deficiencies are planned between December 2001 and February 2002.
The report comes at a critical time for the Osprey program. In the aftermath
of the April crash, critics have charged that the program suffers from serious
shortcomings. The IG report listed the following major deficiencies in IT
systems as having received a waiver from testing:
* The aircraft is not cleared for air combat maneuvering.
* The aircraft is unable to align Light Weight Inertial Navigation System
without Global Positioning System signal.
* The multifunction display has low reliability.
* The pilot is isolated from intercommunication system wile transmitting
in unsecured mode.
* A ground collision avoidance and warning system not available.
* The Avionics Navigation System does not provide data other than World
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