The US Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 has successfully conducted the section confined area landings (CAL) and test shooting of the M2 Browning .50-calibre machine gun from the Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.
The exercise involved two MV-22B Ospreys, which flew along with the marine units to a landing zone for familiarisation flight training aimed at honing the pilot’s skills to land.
Pilots and crew were briefed on the aircraft’s capabilities, as well as factors such as the meteorological conditions affecting the course of flight.
Prior to the flight, the crew conducted an inspection of the Ospreys to ensure safety and its readiness for flight.
Crew chief Jarod Smith said that one of the aircraft had an experienced pilot and crew on board, while the other was deployed with an amateur pilot in a quest to attain flight code.
Unit pilot captain Edward Williams said: "Section CALs is just one of the biggest basic building blocks into what we do.
"You have got to master that before you can get three or four aircraft into a zone and then move on to doing that at night."
Following the conclusion of the initial CAL flight, the Marines returned to the hangar to refuel and then flew out for a .50-calibre machine gun shoot.
The crew flew to a safe distance off the coast to commence the practise shooting of the machine gun from the back of the aircraft.
Williams added: "The tail guns are important because [they] are our primary weapon.
"If there is a threat in the zone, the crew chiefs need to be proficient to be able to engage a threat without prior notice."
Smith had stated that firing larger rounds offer more penetration than other munitions and allow the gunner to engage enemies at greater distances.
Each round by the crew members involved firing into an area of the ocean, while keeping a tight group on the rounds fired.
After completion of the exercise, crew and pilots were debriefed to allow them to assess their performance and determine ways to make improvements.
Image: Jarod Smith in action with the mounted machine gun during the exercise Photo: courtesy of Lance Cpl. Aaron Fiala.