An MV-22 Osprey “entered the water” off the Australian Coast at Shoalwater Bay in Queensland state at about 4 p.m. local time yesterday. Twenty Three of the 26 Marines on board were recovered safely. Search efforts are underway for the other three, but the outlook is not good at this point. The incident is under investigation.
The 31st Marine Expeditionary Group and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group had ships, aircraft, and small boats conducting the search.
The Osprey is one of several aircraft conducting joint military exercises with Australian forces in a regularly scheduled program called “Talisman Saber.” According to Fox News, the exercise is a biennial event involving 30,000 participants and 200 aircraft.
— Defence CASG (@Defence_CASG) August 3, 2017
The Osprey Tiltrotor has been an integral part of operations in the region. The Marine Corps Times reported just three days ago,
The Bonhomme Richard carried 12 Ospreys from the “Dragons” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 at the exercise, while the Marines of the 31st MEU were spread among the three ships of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, made up of the amphibious dock landing ship Ashland and amphibious transport dock ship Green Bay.
According to VMM-265 pilot Capt. Charles Randolph, the Osprey’s main role at Talisman Saber was troop transport for ground assaults, operating either from the ships or as part of shore-based detachments. This included combined air assaults with U.S. Army and Australian helicopter assets also at the exercise, with the Osprey’s speed used to good effect to move troops around when conducting rapid flanking maneuvers on the ground.
The Osprey is proving its worth, but here’s the rub: about 70% of Marine aircraft can’t fly because years of budget cuts (thanks Obama) have created a lack of spare parts. The Osprey has had its share of those “mishaps,” as have Marine helicopters, etc.
Lives are being lost and firing commanders won’t bring them back. The US Military needs proper funding, and maintenance budgets that actually work.
For Talisman Saber, the MV-22 Ospreys completed their first trans-pacific flight, with tops in Guam and Wake Island. Here is the video of their landing in Australia back in April.