The V-22 “is doing more than we expected,” not less like Woolsey suggested, the HASC vice chairman said on the House floor.
“It is helping Marines and special operators do the job,” Thornberry said.
He said he has a letter from Marine Corps brass stating Ospreys are performing well in Afghanistan, and Iraq before that. That same letter stated the aircraft has received high marks “in extreme conditions,” Thornberry said.
The V-22, built by Boeing and Bell, can take off like a helicopter, then rotate its nacelles and fly like a plane, giving it the ability to travel at much greater speeds than the U.S. military choppers it will replace.
But the powerful aircraft has a checkered history. Several test flights have ended in fatal crashes. The program was plagued for years with developmental and technical problems and cost more much than initially projected.
But since it was fielded several years ago, military leaders and pilots have given the Osprey fleet rave reviews.
The Pentagon intends to buy around 450. The majority would go to the Marine Corps, with the Air Force slated to buy around 50.
The debate and vote on the Woolsey amendment came just hours before Boeing, Bell and the Marine Corps will be conducting flights of a V-22 for members of the media over New York City.