The US Air Force Special Operations Command’s (AFSOC) 352nd Special Operations Group (SOG) has added two new CV-22B Osprey multi-mission aircraft to its fleet.
The aircraft form part of the 352nd SOG expansion, which include the addition of ten Ospreys by the end of 2014.
Replacing the MH-53 Pave Low helicopter, the CV-22 aircraft not only has the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical-landing qualities of a helicopter, but also has the long-range, fuel-efficiency and speed qualities of turboprop aircraft.
In addition, the aircraft is silent in airplane mode, allowing it to operate easily in hostile territory.
The addition of CV-22B to the 7th Special Operations Squadron (SOS), a component of the 352nd SOG, enables the unit to quickly handle operations across greater distances.
7th SOS operations director lieutenant colonel Chris Goodyear said the CV-22 allows personnel to access places that usually would be unable to with a fixed wing aircraft.
"The unique thing about the CV-22, unlike our rotary wing partners, is it has the speed of a fixed wing platform," he added.
"So you kind of get the blend of the best of both worlds. You have the speed of a fixed wing, and you have the vertical lift capability of a helicopter."
352nd SOG commander colonel Christopher Ireland said: "The arrival of the new aircraft is the next chapter in a 70-year historical relationship the US and the UK share."
Primarily responsible for night, adverse-weather, long-range insertion, extraction and resupply operations, the 7th SOS also supports non-combatant evacuation and humanitarian relief missions.
Manufactured by Bell Boeing, V-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft designed to help special operations forces during long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply operations.
Image: Two CV-22B Ospreys taxi to their new home at RAF Mildenhall in England. Photo: US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephen Linch.