The Spanish naval station of Rota, in the province of Cádiz, usually witnesses the arrival of many types of aircraft from the United States.
Being a joint base for decades, Rota receives many visits from aircraft from the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The Marines' MV-22B Osprey tiltrotors are regular visitors to the Spanish base, and have even carried out landing and takeoff operations from the flight deck of the "Juan Carlos I" L-61 aircraft carrier of the Marines. Spain navy. However, few visits are as unusual as the one that arrived yesterday at that naval station.
This morning, the DVIDS multimedia portal of the US Armed Forces published two series of photos taken by the US Navy (here and here) of the arrival this Monday at noon of several CV-22B Ospreys from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), aircraft operated by the United States Air Force (USAF).
Upon arrival in Rota, and during their transportation from the dock to the air base, the CV-22Bs had an escort of vehicles from the Spanish Naval Police, made up of members of the Marine Corps. The Naval Police is in charge of security functions at this joint base, in collaboration with the US Military Police deployed there.
As seen in the images, the CV-22B have arrived with their wings and rotors folded, the usual procedure with this type of convertiplanes when they are shipped. The wings of the Osprey rotate horizontally 90º to carry out this folding, very useful on the US Navy ships on which the Ospreys operated by the Marines are embarked.
Currently, el SOCOM has 54 CV-22B, whose primary function is "Special operations forces long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply", according to the USAF. These aircraft take off and land vertically, and can fly as a fixed-wing aircraft or hover. They have 4 crew members and can transport 24 seated soldiers or 4,535 kg of cargo. Its autonomy is 926 km.
In the title I have stated that it is an unusual arrival, and I could even say never seen, since in DVIDS there is no previous presence in Spain of the SOCOM CV-22B. I have also found no other sources indicating previous visits by these special operations aircraft. Thus, it could be the first visit of these SOCOM aircraft to Spain.
As if this were not already something strange, the CV-22B (up to three of these aircraft can be seen in the photos) arrived in Spain aboard a civil Ro-Ro ship, the MV Liberty Power, with the US flag but belonging to the Italian shipping company Messina Line. According to Vessel Finder, the ship set sail on September 15 from Sunny Point, in the United States, and her next stop, this Tuesday, was Casablanca, in Morocco.
In the aforementioned photo albums, DVIDS does not indicate the reason for the arrival in Spain of these three CV-22B. Perhaps they come for some exercise or for other purposes specific to their mission. What he has noted is that his arrival has been accompanied by personnel from the 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, a unit based at Cannon AFB, New Mexico.
USAF CV-22Bs are operated by five Special Operations Squadrons and one Test Squadron. The aircraft that have arrived at Rota are possibly from the 71st Special Operations Squadron, based at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. The aircraft do not carry any insignia that allows them to recognize which unit they belong to. Below you can see more photos of his arrival.
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