Bell Boeing MV-22 Saves Airman’s Life in Operation Odyssey Dawn
In March 2011, in partnership with various national military units, the U.S. Armed forces embarked on Operation Odyssey Dawn – a joint international operation in Libya. On the third day, a U.S. Air Force fighter jet pilot, Maj. Kenneth Harney, was forced to eject out of his failing aircraft, landing in hostile territory. A fast rescue was imperative to continue the operation, avoid any strategic setbacks and save the Airman’s life. Because of the time constraints and gravity of the situation, the fastest aircraft – the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey – was selected for deployment.
Maj. Harney’s position was positively identified, but intelligence updates indicated enemy forces were quickly closing in on his location. The Osprey’s sophisticated navigation equipment allowed the flight leader to quickly adjust the route to save time. The Ospreys were at the downed pilot’s location just 41 minutes after takeoff.
When the MV-22 touched down, “Harney sprinted at full tilt for the Osprey. He ran up the rear ramp, sat down, buckled up, and gave the thumbs up signal.” In only 90 seconds, the aircraft had landed, secured the aviator and taken off. The total time from crash to rescue was just under three and a half hours – a very successful rescue mission. Both the speed and maneuverability of the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey and the U.S. Marine Corps dedicated training and execution made this evacuation possible. “Of the thousands of sorties flown by the 28-nation Odyssey Dawn coalition, this was the most important.”
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