As of 14 Sep 99
By Gidge Dady
V-22 Public Affairs

        Naval Air Station PATUXENT RIVER, MD –The first production tiltrotor aircraft, the MV-22 Osprey, currently being  tested here by the Multi-Service Operational Test Team (MOTT), flew over the watchful eyes of hundreds of spectators who assembled at the Pentagon Sept. 8 for a much anticipated event.
         Tiltrotor Day, sponsored by the Department of Defense, was an opportunity to showcase to a wide audience, that included members of congress, national and international media and military brass, the past and present in tiltrotor technology.  Just moments before landing at the Pentagon River Entrance parade ground, the Osprey, piloted by MOTT operational testers LtCol Keith Sweaney and LtCol Jim Shaffer, was ushered in by its first prototype, the XV-15 and the CH-46, the helicopter it will replace.
         After the aircraft were positioned, the event’s guest speaker, Secretary of Defense William Cohen said, “Every few decades of this century the world has witnessed the arrival of weapons platforms that have truly revolutionized national security.  The powerful and innovative aircraft you see here today, the tiltrotors, will have just that effect in the coming century.  They are going to revolutionize not only our force projection, they are going to transform the entire way America conceives and sustains its policy of engagement in the decades ahead.”
         Cohen then pointed to the MV-22 and said, “This is the revolution in military affairs.”  He continued by describing various scenarios in which V-22 technology would provide greater survivability to get pilots and crew home safely, cut response times to days or hours vice weeks, provide versatility, and give forward deployed forces more support.  He compared the potential impact of the tiltrotor with that of the aircraft carrier in World War II and the use of modern bombers and jet fighters in Kosovo.  “These aircraft, through development and now in production have stayed on time and within budget – this is no small accomplishment,” he said.
         Within seconds after Secretary Cohen concluded his remarks, the crowds quickly made their way toward the aircraft parked on the grassy parade ground where several members of congress who had flown in on the V-22, high ranking military and civilians, and the pilots were available to talk with reporters and other interested individuals. The aircraft were on display and open for tours for most of the day.
         The MV-22 on display was the first low rate initial production aircraft that was delivered to the Marine Corps in May 1999.  Three additional production aircraft are scheduled for delivery by the end of this year.  These aircraft will be used for the next big milestone, Operational Evaluation, which begins in October and continues through spring 2000.