The "Blue Ribbon Panel" conducted a comprehensive review. It released its initial findings at a public meeting Wednesday.
It found significant problems with the MV-22's maintainability and reliability as well as its cost, but said the Marine Corps needed tilt-rotor aircraft's capability to rapidly move troops in and out of difficult-to-access battlefields.
"Although there are many issues to be resolved, I am encouraged by the panel's recommendation to pursue further development and fielding of the V-22. This is a capability our nation needs to meet the operational requirements of the 21st century," stated Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James L. Jones.
Then-Defense Secretary William Cohen appointed the panel in December after the second fatal crash of a MV-22 that year.
One crashed in April 2000 in Arizona, killing all 19 aboard. A second aircraft crashed Dec. 11 in North Carolina, killing all four on board.
The first crash was attributed to pilot error. The second crash, however, was due to a faulty hydraulic system and a software glitch that made the aircraft pitch and roll when the pilot followed proper emergency procedures to right the aircraft, according to a Marine Corps investigation released this month week.
That investigation found the Marine Corps rushed the testing of the MV-22 to meet a schedule and skipped a test of the hydraulic system that might have revealed the fatal flaw.
The MV-22 is an aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter but flips its rotors forward to fly like an aircraft. It is much faster and larger -and more expensive – than the Vietnam War-era CH-46 helicopters the Marine Corps wants it to replace.
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