The U.S. Navy announced Friday it landed an Osprey V-22 aircraft for the first time on a flight deck aboard a hospital ship.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet announced the news from the USNS Mercy. The flight testing is result of a seven-month mission to expand the ship’s capabilities for landing aircraft such as the V-22 Osprey and MH-60 Seahawk.
The Osprey, first developed in 1989, features turbo propellers for the aircraft to take off like a helicopter before assisting in forward flight.
Prior to the testing, the deck of Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy was upgraded to allow for the flights to take off.
Upgrading the ship to support new aircraft platforms will increase the efficiency of medical teams, commander Capt. Kendall Bridgewater said in a statement.
“This is a historic event in the storied life of the USNS Mercy, and for MSC,” Bridgewater said. “Improving the capability of the ship to support newer aircraft platforms such as the MV-22, allows greater flexibility and enhances the embarked medical treatment team’s ability to continue providing the outstanding care they are known for. This investment in new capability is a great example of MSC’s continued support to the fleet and plays an important role in keeping the U.S. Navy competitive well into the future.”
Takeoffs and landings will be practiced for a few days with the V-22 from Mercy’s flight deck, followed by operations with the MH-60s.
The tactical training will focus on critical patients and shortening the route to the ship for their treatment.
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