The US Marine Corps (USMC) MV-22B Osprey aircraft has successfully conducted external cargo lift operations onboard the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship, USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE 2), off the coast of Subic Bay, Philippines.
Conducted as part of Exercise Balikatan 2013, the trials were intended to demonstrate Osprey's cargo lifting and passenger transfer capabilities that will help the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) to plan for future lift operations from ship to shore.
During the flight operations, the Osprey lifted the high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HUMVEE) for the first time off the ship.
Sacagawea civil service master captain Rollin Bellfi said: "This is our first MV-22 landing, fuelling, cargo and passenger transfer."
Okinawa-based Dragons of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron VMM-265 Marine Corps pilots, who operated the aircraft, also familiarised themselves with its other capabilities.
The Osprey is now set to undergo additional landing qualifications, refuelling operations, passenger transfers and cargo lifts missions throughout exercise.
Bell Boeing-built MV-22 Osprey aircraft has been designed and integrated with the operational capabilities of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.
The aircraft's missions include transportation of troops, equipment, and supplies from ships and land bases for combat assault and assault support.
USNS Sacagawea been designed to provide underway replenishment services with logistic lift from sources of supply in port or at sea, as well as transfer of cargo to battle groups, station ships, shuttle ships and other naval ships at sea.
Scheduled to be held from 5-17 April, Exercise Balikatan 2013 is an annual military bilateral training exercise held between the Republic of the Philippines and the US, aimed at enhancing humanitarian assistance capability.
Image: An MV-22 Osprey lifts a Humvee off from the amphibious assault ship. Photo: courtesy of US Marine Corps, Pfc Kasey Peacock/Released.