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US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey

Having stolen the show at RIAT 2006 where it marked its UK flying display debut, the US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey - the world's first tilt-rotor aircraft - will be making a very welcome return to Fairford this summer.

A cross between a helicopter and a fixed wing aeroplane, the Osprey's rotor blades can tilt mid-air enabling it to take off vertically like a helicopter and then reconfigure to fly like a normal aircraft. Not only does this allow it to reach speeds twice as fast as a helicopter but it also enables it to carry heavier payloads and fly at higher altitudes.

In 2007 the aircraft was deployed operationally for the first time, supporting routine cargo and troop movements in Iraq. Two years later, the aircraft performed its first offensive combat mission, Operation Cobra's Anger, inserting 1,000 Marines and 150 Afghan troops into the Now Zad Valley of Helmand Province to disrupt the Taliban's communications and supply lines.

In 2010, Ospreys performed their first humanitarian mission, operating in Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response following an earthquake in the country.

The US Marine Corps plans to send two MV-22Bs, which are rarely seen at airshows in the UK, one for the flying display and the other for the static park.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said few other modern aircraft have been so revolutionary in terms of their design and operational capability.

He said: "In musical terms, adding the Osprey to the flying display is a bit like Glastonbury adding Jay-Z to the bill - its sassy, has lots of good moves, has a huge fan base and looks downright cool."

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Formula 1 Racing Driver

“This is the best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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