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Excellent news from the US Air Force!

Published: 29 May 2015

This week we have received some excellent news from the US Air Force, which has initially confirmed the attendance of two aircraft for static display at this year's show - a CV-22B Osprey from Air Force Special Operations Command's 7th Special Operations Squadron at RAF Mildenhall and an MC-130J Commando II version of the Hercules, operated by the 67th Special Operations Squadron.

The tilt-rotor Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey combines the versatility of a helicopter with the performance of a fixed-wing turboprop aircraft. Having made a vertical or short take-off, the wingtip-mounted nacelles containing the two Rolls-Royce Allison AE1107C turboshaft engines tilt forwards to allow the transition into conventional flight. The maiden flight of the V-22 prototype took place in March 1989. It is now in service in MV-22B form with the US Marine Corps as a cargo and troop transport, and in US Air Force Special Operations Command as the CV-22B for long-range infiltration, exfiltration and re-supply tasks. Three wings fly the CV-22B, the 7th Special Operations Squadron of the 352nd Special Operations  Wing at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, having received its initial examples - the first to be stationed outside the USA - in June 2013. A total of 49 CV-22Bs are on order for the US Air Force.

As part of the re-equipment of US Air Force Special Operations Command, the ageing fleet of MC-130 Hercules variants is gradually being renewed. One result of this is the MC-130J Commando II, one of several special missions' variants of the faster and longer-ranged C-130J model currently in production. It is replacing the older MC-130E, MC-130H and MC-130P in the combat transport and tanker roles, being able to air-refuel helicopters and CV-22 Ospreys belonging to US special operations forces, and performing the infiltration, exfiltration and re-supply of special operations personnel by means of air-drop or air-land missions. The Commando II mainly undertakes its duties by night. Deliveries to the USAF started in 2011, and the 67th Special Operations Squadron, part of the 352nd Special Operations Group (since re-designated as a Wing) at RAF Mildenhall, received its first MC-130Js during June 2013.

“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

“Probably the most complete air show Iíve ever been to!”

Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

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