• U.S.

Military: Up, Up and Away

1 minute read

From the halls of Montezuma to the beaches of Grenada, the U.S. Marines have depended more on the courage of individual fighting men than on fancy combat gear. But in an era of smart bombs and guided missiles, even the Leathernecks are reaching for high-tech equipment to get the job done. Last week the Corps unveiled a revolutionary “tilt-rotor” aircraft designed to dominate the modern battlefield. Known as the Osprey, it will take off and land vertically like a helicopter but fly as fast as a conventional plane. It will do all this, the Corps proclaims, by tilting its 38-ft. propellers, which point upward during takeoffs and landings and forward in level flight.

For all its marvels, the Osprey has at least one drawback: its price, up to $35 million a plane, is two to six times as much as the price of the CH-53 or Black Hawk helicopters that some officials say could do the job.

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