December 17, 2007

First Hillbilly Armor, Now Osprey


(click for full size)

Michael Kamber, who is currently embedded in Iraq, passed this image along to The BAG.  Elegant in its composition, the relevance is not apparent until you read the caption:

US Marine rear door gunner on an Osprey plane looks down at Falluja as it gains altitude.  The plane flies with the rear door open.  The aircraft has been controversial; it takes off like a helicopter, then flies like a plane after the engines rotate.  It had been plagued by crashes during testing.

At a unit cost of $100 million, and after $15+ billion and 25 years of development, this contraption has just recently been introduced into Iraq.  TIME had an extensive report/exposé on the Osprey in late September.  According to the story, the vehicle is so precarious, Dick Cheney, himself, tried to do away with the program at least four times.

Whether or not the security of the aircraft is on the minds of these soldiers, it doesn’t seem lost on Kamber.  The photo has an evidentiary quality — documenting how, once again, flesh-and-blood soldiers are bearing the risk for a questionable capsule.  The photo also serves as something of a postcard:  I was actually up and inside one of these things, and saw it through to the other end.

V-22 Osprey: A Flying Shame. TIME Report – 9.26.07

CNN Puff Piece 8.07

Crash Clip 1991

Osprey Bursts into Flames; “Significant Damage.”  Wired – 11.9.07

(image:  Michael Kamber.  December 3, 2007.  Iraq.  Used by permission)

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