Squadron of Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft heads out to Iraq base - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Squadron of Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft heads out to Iraq base

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Marines have deployed to Iraq the first combat squadron of V-22 Ospreys.

The tilt-rotor aircraft spent decades in development due in part to a series of mechanical failures and fatal crashes.

The V-22 takes off vertically like a helicopter and flies like a plane.

The Osprey is manufactured, in part, in Fort Worth and Amarillo, Texas.

A spokesman says the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 and 10 Ospreys left Monday from New River Air Station next to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, aboard the USS Wasp.

A typical Osprey squadron has roughly 200 Marines.

Marine Corps commandant General James Conway said in April the squadron would deploy to Al-Asad Airfield, more than 100 miles west of Baghdad.

The squadron, dubbed the "Thunder Chickens," includes 20 pilots and is to spend around seven months ferrying troops, supplies and cargo.

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