Saturday, April 14, 2007

Two Decades in the Making

Some key dates in the V-22 Osprey's development:

April 1986: Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger dedicates $25 billion to $40 billion to build a combination helicopter and airplane for the Marine Corps.

May 23, 1988: The first v-22 Osprey rolls out of the Bell Helicopter Plant in Arlington, Tex.

May 2, 1989: Defense Secretary Dick Cheney includes the Osprey program in a proposal for $10 billion in defense budget cuts.

June-August 1989: Both houses of Congress restore Osprey program to defense budget.

Dec. 1, 1989: The Defense Department orders Navy to cancel Osprey production contracts.

July-August 1990: The House and Senate authorize $403 million for continued research, development and advance procurement for the Osprey.

June 11, 1991: One of five V-22 prototypes crashes at New Castle Airport in Delaware. No one is injured.

July 2, 1992: After a congressional subcommittee moves to cut Pentagon budget and staff unless it spends money already allocated for the Osprey, Cheney agrees to release $1.5 billion.

July 20, 1992: A V-22 crashes into the Potomac River while preparing to land at the Marine Corps air station at Quantico. Three Marines and four civilians are killed.

April 8, 2000: A V-22 crashes near Tucson. All 19 Marines aboard are killed.

Dec. 11, 2000: A V-22 crashes outside Jacksonville, N.C., killing all four Marines aboard. All Ospreys are grounded.

April 18, 2001: A Pentagon-appointed review panel says the Osprey should continue in limited production but calls for major changes before the aircraft returns to regular use.

Sept. 14, 2001: Two Marine officers are found guilty of misconduct for their roles in falsifying V-22 maintenance records.

May 28, 2002: The Marine Corps allows Osprey test flights to resume.

Feb. 9: The Marine Corps temporarily grounds Osprey fleet for glitch in computer chip that could cause the aircraft to lose control.

Yesterday: Marines announce that Ospreys will be sent to Iraq for combat duty in September.

SOURCE: WASHINGTON POST REPORTING


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