Osprey Flying Into Controversy With GAO Report

Calls for halting the production of the V-22 Osprey are ringing in the ears of the Marine Corps and lawmakers.  We are talking about the MV-22, the aircraft the marines use, and that are assembled here in Amarillo.

The reported problems with its equipment were compiled in a Government Accountability Office report just released.  The report is based on a performance audit from June of 2008 to May of this year.  It says, among other things, the Osprey has problems maneuvering and detecting threats.

The head of the investigation, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D)-New York, wants the Osprey to go away because "it can't be used in hot weather, it can't be used in cold weather, in sand, high altitude locations and it has restricted moveability."

But the Marines, and one area congressman, dispute that.   Lieutenant General George Trautman, US Marine Corps Commandant, says "the Osprey has flown nearly 10,000 hours in combat, lifted over 45,000 passengers, and carried more than 2.2 million pounds of cargo while completing every assignment imaginable."

Local Congressman Mac Thornberry says, "with new technology and different environments like the sand of the desert or the mountains of Afghanistan, you're gonna have some parts wear out quicker than expected and that's what's happening."

Towns is calling for an all-out halt of production of the Osprey, but Thornberry says that is not about to happen.  He explains the V-22 has been approved for full production and that Bell Helicopter and the Marines are working through those problems mentioned.

Congressman Thornberry says this GAO report looks like a ploy for Towns to get some publicity.  He says the most important opinion is not of legislators or the GAO, but that of the Marine Corps, who say they love flying the Osprey.

We spoke with Bell Helicopter and they say they agree with the Marines and are addressing those negative issues in the report.   They also say improvements to the aircraft have already been made.

Here is a link to view the report for yourself: