A USAF Special Operations CV-22 Osprey from 7th Special Operations Squadron ‘Aircommandos,’ at RAF Mildenhall, UK, is stuck in the nature reserve Stongodden on the island of Senja in Troms, Norway, after it made an emergency landing there on Aug. 12, 2022.
Since the event, the Osprey is stuck on the island as repairs onsite are thought to be impossible. As reported by Scramble, Norwegian Authorities have been investigating several options to salvage the plane from the nature reserve, in constant contact with the US Authorities.
The Norwegian Defense Forces have been in close dialogue with the State Administrator and used their own environmental officers. In this way, they must ensure that the aircraft is transported out in a way that safeguards nature in the area.
‘It is quite complicated to carry out technically, and something neither we nor the Americans have done before,’ says Wang.
The defense has now sent their plan to the Americans for approval.
‘We hope that a decision will be made on their part during this or next week. Once it is taken, it will take about two to three weeks to carry out the operation,’ says Wang.
Colonel Eirik Stueland tells NRK that both a road, a ramp and a jetty must be built in the nature reserve in order to transport the aircraft out.
The Norwegian Defense Forces proposes to lay out mats in the terrain, in order to be able to approach the machine without destroying the terrain. But getting it lifted on to a boat will probably be no easy task.
‘It is very shallow in the area, so there are problems with getting the barge in far enough. A 70-metre-long crane arm is required,’ says Wang.
‘In addition, we have to take the weather into account. There cannot be waves more than 0.3 meters high or winds of more than seven meters per second.’
The operation will cost a “significant” sum, he says.
‘Of course, we must take the reserve into account, and do as little damage as possible to the area.’
‘We are probably talking about millions. But it is the Americans who have to foot the bill because it is their machine,’ adds Wang.
Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Westerman in the 352 Special Operations Wing cannot say concretely when the decision will be made on the American side.
‘That decision is made by someone higher up in the system than me, so I don’t have a good answer for that,’ he says to NRK.
‘But we are aware that the Norwegian winter will be able to affect the operation.’
He also praises the cooperation with the Norwegian defense stationed at Bardufoss.
‘We have a very good relationship, says Westermann.’
This emergency landing is one of the events that recently led to the grounding of all CV-22s. As already reported in fact, as part of a safety stand down, on Aug. 16, 2022 the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) grounded its CV-22 Osprey fleet. There is not a timeline set for the aircraft to begin flying again.
AFSOC spokesperson Lt. Col. Rebecca Heyse explained in an emailed statement to Air Force Magazine that the stand down, ordered by AFSOC commander Lt. Gen. James C. “Jim” Slife, comes after two incidents of “hard clutch engagement.”
A hard clutch engagement involves the clutch connecting the rotor gear box to the engine slipping, then catching hard, causing the aircraft to lurch.
Heyse said that the two incidents came after two in the previous five years. Heyse added that thanks to the skill and professionalism of AFSOC Air Commandos who operate the CV-22 no injuries have been reported as a result of the incidents.
Heyse pointed out that since AFSOC hadn’t yet gathered enough engineering data analysis to identify the cause of the issue it’s unknown if it’s mechanical, design, software or some combination of any of those.
No AFSOC CV-22s will fly until a root cause is determined and risk control measures are put in place she said. Heyse added that the goal is to determine a viable long term materiel solution.
AFSOC has more than 50 Ospreys in its fleet, based out of Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Hurlburt Field, Fla., Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., RAF Mildenhall, U.K., and Yokota Air Base, Japan.
Photo credit: Norwegian Armed Forces via Scramble
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