V-22 Osprey Aircraft: Assessments Needed to Address Operational and Cost Concerns to Define Future Investments

GAO-09-692T Published: Jun 23, 2009. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2009.
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Since the 1980s, the V-22, developed to transport combat troops, supplies, and equipment for the U.S. Marine Corps and to support other services' operations, has experienced several fatal crashes, demonstrated various deficiencies, and faced virtual cancellation--much of which it has overcome. Although recently deployed in Iraq and regarded favorably, it has not performed the full range of missions anticipated, and how well it can do so is in question. Given concerns about the V-22 program, GAO recently reviewed and on May 11, 2009, reported on MV-22 operations in Iraq; strengths and deficiencies in terms of the capabilities expected of the V-22; and past, current, and future costs. In that report, GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense require (1) a new alternatives analysis of the V-22 and (2) that the Marine Corps develop a prioritized strategy to improve system suitability, reduce operational costs, and align future budget requests. The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with the second recommendation, but not the first. GAO believes both recommendations remain valid. This testimony highlights GAO's findings from that report. In speaking of the V-22, we are actually speaking of two variants of the same aircraft. The MV-22 is used by the Marine Corps; and the CV-22 by the Air Force to support special operations. This statement largely focuses on the MV-22, but also refers to the V-22 and CV-22.

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