All eyes at Malta International Airport this weekend were undoubtedly focused on Apron 2 Stand 15C, where a United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Boeing CV-22 Osprey, based at RAF Mildenhall, visited the Maltese Islands for the very first time.
The CV-22 Osprey is a unique aircraft that combines vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. The CV-22 takes off vertically and, once airborne, the nacelles (engine and prop-rotor group) on each wing can rotate into a forward position.
The mission of the CV-22 is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces. The CV-22 offers increased speed and range over other rotary-wing aircraft, enabling Air Force Special Operations Command aircrews to execute long-range special operations missions. The CV-22 can perform missions that normally would require both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.
The CV-22 is equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, forward-looking infrared sensor and other systems that allow it to operate in various austere conditions.