The test team at Edwards AFB, Calif., has completed developmental flight-testing of the CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Next up is operational testing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., where the operators of Air Force Special Operations Command already are flying the new aircraft. SrA. Jason Hernandez reports that the Edwards integrated test team, comprising personnel from Air Force Materiel Command, AFSOC, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Naval Air Systems Command, Marine Corps, Bell Helicopter, and Boeing, began flight testing in September 2002 with two CV-22s. In 2005, the team gained a third Osprey and flew a total of 2,000 hours with all three. “In those 2,000 hours, we have met all of our test objectives and goals,” said Steve Sisterman, the team director.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.