Wednesday, March 5, 2014

V-22 Osprey Weapon System - How it should be...

V-22 Osprey
Weapon System



BAE Systems started developing a remote controlled weapon system for V-22 Osprey in 2005. The system is called Remote Guardian. The resulting solution was a defensive weapon system that provides 360 degrees of coverage through a remotely operated retractable weapon that compensates for platform motion.

The aim is to give effective defensive armament to the Osprey when the it approaches a hot landing zone. 

The MV-22 normally has a M240 7.62mm machine gun pintle at the ramp facing rear as the only armament.






Watch the video from 04:16 to end

The Remote Guardian System is an add-on kit that is mounted under the belly and it is retractable. 

It has two turrets, a gun turret with a 7.62mm minigun and a FLIR type sight turret in front of it.  The system is controlled from a display and a playstation type hand controller.


Ref: Helfrich, T., M., Young, D., L., "Arming the Osprey, Summary of Developmental Testing, of V-22 Interim Defensive Weapon System", US Air Force T&E Days, 2010.




Marines have taken 5 systems to Afghanistan. However the feedback from the field is not what's expected.

Here is an excerpt from DefenseTech:


A senior crew chief explains that the controller/targeting station takes up too much room in the cabin (three seats) and needs devotion of a crew chief’s entire attention to running the system.

“And you’d better have a strong stomach,” the gunny said. “Because sitting sideways and trying to keep that thing on target looking at the screen will make you pretty sick.”


Ref: Helfrich, T., M., Young, D., L., "Arming the Osprey, Summary of Developmental Testing, of V-22 Interim Defensive Weapon System", US Air Force T&E Days, 2010.


Plus the added weight of 360kg's is also restricting the payload capacity of the aircraft.

Ref: Helfrich, T., M., Young, D., L., "Arming the Osprey, Summary of Developmental Testing, of V-22 Interim Defensive Weapon System", US Air Force T&E Days, 2010.


One of limitations for arming V-22 is its 12m diameter rotors prevents armament to be mounted under the wings on hard-points. Also side firing guns should be limited in order not to fire to the rotors accidentally.

So it only leaves the fuselage for the armament to be mounted.

Also the add-on weight of the armament system has to be carefully considered not to greatly reduce the payload capacity of the aircraft.

One thing that I would prefer for the armament is that it should use the aircraft's existing FLIR system as the sensor suite, rather than employing another sight like the Remote Guardian did.

Also the underbelly approach has two major drawbacks:

- The turret & sight should be retracted well before landing which will leave the aircraft without the armament when it is in its most vulnerable phase.

- The retraction mechanisms add too much unnecessary weight to the armament kit and thus to the aircraft in the end.

A better approch for arming V-22 Osprey

I've come across a NDIA document for a proposed system for the V-22. (Barton, V., De Pasqual, E., J., "Defensive Armament for the V-22 Selection, Integration and Development", NDIA, 2002.)

The study explains a nose mounted turret for the MV-22 that is controlled from the cocpit via a helmet tracker like the gun control system in AH-64 Apache.

The helmet embedded gun control is the best approach for v-22. I believe it will eliminate the motion sickness problem that the Remote Guardian operator suffers. Motion sickness appears when you are not sitting facing forward and when you are looking at a display below your eye level constantly. 

The nose turret is equipped with a three barrel 12.7mm gatling type gun, which is far more lethal and longer reaching than the Remote Guardian's 7.62mm.

Here are some of the features from the study:

Barton, V., De Pasqual, E., J., "Defensive Armament for the V-22 Selection, Integration and Development", NDIA, 2002.

The conceptual image of the turret installation in V-22 is like this:


Barton, V., De Pasqual, E., J., "Defensive Armament for the V-22 Selection, Integration and Development", NDIA, 2002.

I believe this should be the way V-22 Osprey is weaponized.


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