US Navy Secretary Remains Behind V-22 Osprey After March Accident
Mon, 10 Apr '06
The Aero-News Network
Inadvertent Takeoff Causes Damage To Wing, Right Engine

US Navy Secretary Donald Winter said last week he remains confident in the Marines' plans to deploy the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, despite its troubled development history and a minor accident March 27.

"I'm still very high on that program," Winter told Reuters April 4."I think it's an extremely capable platform."

The recent incident, at a maintenance facility in New River, NC, occurred when a V-22 inadvertently took off during a post-maintenance checkflight. The aircraft then came down hard, causing significant damage to the Osprey's wing and right engine.

Navy and Marine officials are reviewing the maintenance work performed on the Osprey, and whether that may have contributed to the accident.

"I have seen nothing in that that causes me to do anything but continue on due course," Winter told reporters at the Navy League's annual exposition.

The Pentagon's 2007 budget calls for increased funding for the V-22 by over $500 million -- to a total of $2.29 billion.

The V-22 program came close to being canceled in the wake of two accidents in 2000, that resulted in the deaths of 23 Marines.