An accident has forced all aircraft of this model to be grounded

The 3-month flight ban of the American V-22 Ospreys and the warning it means for Spain

On November 29, 2023, a US Air Force CV-22B Osprey converter plane suffered a serious accident off the coast of Japan.

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Eight people died in this accident. This was one of the most serious accidents that the V-22 Osprey has suffered since its entry into service in 2007. The investigation carried out by the USAF determined that the accident in Japan was due to "a materiel failure of a V-22 component", so it became necessary to subject these aircraft to an exhaustive review.

A CV-22 Osprey of the USAF 21st Special Operations Squadron taking off from Yokota Air Base, Japan, on August 1, 2021 (Photo: U.S. Air Force).

The accident led to the grounding of all US V-22 Ospreys

Due to this, the entire V-22 fleet of the United States Armed Forces was grounded. The US V-22 Osprey fleet consists of about 400 aircraft, including the MV-22B of the Marines, the CV-22B of the USAF and the most recent CMV-22B of the Navy, which since 2020 have been in the process of delivering the 44 units acquired.

A CV-22B Osprey from the USAF 352nd Special Operations Wing during an inspection at RAF Mildenhall Air Base, United Kingdom, Oct. 20, 2021 (Photo: U.S. Air Force).

One of the units affected by this flight ban was Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1), which is the Marine Corps unit that is in charge of transporting the president of the United States over short distances. This unit has a total of 12 MV-22B adapted for VIP transport. Everyone has been left on the ground. Fortunately, the unit also has 8 Sikorsky VH-60N White Hawk, the VIP transport version of the famous UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

An MV-22B Osprey from Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1), the unit in charge of transporting the president of the United States, landing in New York on April 11, 2023 (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps).

Surely, the service branch most affected by this stoppage will have been the Navy, as it is replacing its old Grumman C-2 Greyhounds with the CMV-22B Ospreys in logistical support tasks for aircraft carriers. The withdrawal of the C-2 was scheduled for 2027 but was brought forward to 2024, so this stoppage of the CMV-22B came at a very bad time and could have caused serious problems for the shipment of supplies to aircraft carrier.

A CMV-22B Osprey of the US Navy's Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 50 "Sunhawks" on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) on September 11, 2023 (Photo: U.S. Navy).

Last week, the US Department of Defense (DoD) reported the resumption of flights with the V-22. The worst thing is that the technicians are not even sure what failed in the accident in Japan, as the DoD statement acknowledges: "They would not identify the component that failed, but they said the processes they put in place will allow a safe return to flight."

Two Spanish Eurofighters from the 11th Wing (Photo: Estado Mayor de la Defensa).

A problem that could occur in Spain with the Eurofighter

Some of you may wonder why I mention Spain in the title of this article, since the Spanish Armed Forces do not use the V-22. In September 2023 I warned here about a risk with the Eurofighter Typhoon, more specifically with the plans of the Spanish government that tend to replace the entire fleet of EF-18 Hornet fighters with Eurofighters. I then warned that the Air Force is not in favor of operating a single fighter model, because a breakdown in one of the planes could ground the entire fleet and Spain would be left without fighters once they were retired. from service all EF-18s.

An F-35 from the USAF 388th Fighter Wing alongside Spanish Eurofighters at Los Llanos Air Base, in Albacete, Spain, on June 10, 2019, on the occasion of the Tactical Leadership Program (Photo: U.S. Navy).

As I already warned then, Spain is the only Eurofighter manufacturing country that has not yet decided to buy the F-35 (Italy and the United Kingdom have already received it and Germany has announced its decision to acquire it) . As a result, for the first time the Air Force would operate a single fighter model, without having an alternative model to resort to in case of a stoppage (neither the F-35 nor the JAS-39 Gripen or any other of the currently good fighters available on the market). What happened with the Osprey in the US should serve as a warning.


Main photo: U.S. Air Force. A CV-22B Osprey of the USAF 352nd Special Operations Wing landing on the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) on March 2, 2023.

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