ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AP) - After a troubled history, the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft has been ferrying troops and equipment across Iraq for just over a year without a major incident.
The half-helicopter, half-airplane was designed to replace transport helicopters. Critics say it lacks firepower for defense in heavy combat. But pilots say the Osprey makes up for that in speed, which 1 of them says can take the plane "like a bat out of hell" to altitudes safe from small-arms fire.
Since arriving at this sprawling desert base in western Iraq, a dozen Ospreys have been ferrying troops and equipment at forward operating bases. One even took around Barack Obama during his tour of Iraq earlier this year.
But on only a handful of occasions has the aircraft faced any serious enemy fire.