First MV-22 Osprey Squadron Operational
08 Mar 2006
On Friday March 03, 2006, the first MV-22 Osprey squadron was established in a ceremony at New River Air Station. Previously operating the CH-46, the "Thunder Chickens" stood down in June 2005. The squadron is now known as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263,
The pilots, crews and maintainers of VMM-263 have already been trained with the basics and will now start training to fly the MV-22 in a tactical, combat environment. The "Thunder Chickens" are expected to be combat ready in 2007.
The US Marine Corps plans to replace its entire fleet of CH-46 twin rotor helicopters with Bell-Boeing's Osprey, which has better speed, range and capacity. The MV-22 passed the operational evaluation in the summer of 2005, followed by approval for full-scale production in September. The USMC already ordered 360 Ospreys, costing USD 71 million per aircraft.
- U.S. Navy