Navy ARG Commander: Marine V-22s Provided Logistics Critical for Libya Strikes
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINTON, Va. — The Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft attached to an amphibious ready group (ARG) launching strikes into Libya last fall were critical to sustaining the strike aircraft with munitions, the ARG commander said.
The USS Wasp ARG, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked, conducted air strikes against Islamic State forces in Sirte, Libya, during Operation Odyssey Lightning, from August to December. The air combat element of the MEU, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264, flew strikes with its AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft and AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters. The MV-22Bs, among other missions, were used to keep the ARG/MEU supplied with some of the munition components needed for the strikes after initial stocks were drawn from use.
The Ospreys, with their high speed and long range, were dispatched to Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, to transport components such as Hellfire missiles and precision guidance kits for 500-pound bombs for the strike aircraft, Capt. F. Byron Ogden, commander, Amphibious Squadron Six, and commander of the Wasp ARG, said March 2 to an audience at the Potomac Institute. “We used them quite often.”
The high demand for bombs and rockets “was a product of our success,” Odgen said, noting that the strikes’ consumption of ordnance put a “crunch on the logistics chain.”
Expressing concern about the logistics demand diverting Ospreys from their primary missions, Ogden said, “We need a more standard air bridge” and recommended that the forthcoming Navy CMV-22B logistics version of the Osprey — being procured for support of aircraft carrier strike groups — also be employed on amphibious warfare ships to relieve the burden on the Marine Corps Ospreys.