WASHINGTON -- Tests conducted earlier this month at Camp Lejeune, NC, found that the Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor can safely land on the AM2 Mat system, which is used by the services to land aircraft in remote places around the globe.
The tests were conducted Nov. 8, said Mike Jiavaras, the expeditionary airfield team lead for Naval Air Station Lakehurst, NJ.
“It’s definitely compatible,” Jiavaras said. “There’s increased maintenance because of it, but it’s definitely compatible -- we got a lot [of] heat data, pressure data, so [the tests] answered a lot of questions for the V-22 program. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.”
The tests were conducted to ensure that the thermal impact and impact of the rotor pressure of the MV-22 would not damage the AM2 Mat anchoring system, according to Naval Air Systems Command briefing slides prepared last month.
NAVAIR has evaluated the compatibility of the MV-22 with AM2 Mat since 1994, but previous tests have not been sufficient to evaluate the thermal impact of the aircraft, according to a briefing slide.
“The unconventional nature of the MV-22 Osprey has created new problems/scenarios,” says another NAVAIR document on the subject. “The MV-22 exerts a much greater vertical load on an AM2 Mat surface; and the effect of this increased vertical loading, and the heat associated with it, has not yet been fully determined for AM2 Mat surfaces.”
Jiavaras said the mat used in the latest tests will undergo further scrutiny at NAVAIR-Lakehurst and a final report will come out in a “couple months.”
Although a Marine Corps MV-22 was used for the tests, the Air Force (which is buying the CV-22 model) will also use the test results, Jiavaras said.
Prior to the test date Nov. 8, a crew spent two days installing the AM2 Mat at Camp Lejeune, he said.
AM2 has been in use since the 1960’s. The problem with the system is it is “extremely” heavy to transport and install, he said. The system is also “over-designed for the more dynamic and expeditionary operations of rotary wing aircraft,” Jiavaras noted.
He said a joint, Air Force-led effort is under way to develop a replacement for the AM2 Mat and a request for proposals is due within a year.
“Our mission is to have the same strength parameters as the AM2 mat system, but at half the weight and two-thirds the volume of the existing system,” he said in a previous interview with ITN earlier this year.
“It’s a big engineering challenge and we’re working it with the joint community. And actually it looks good, it looks very promising.”
NAVAIR is also testing alternative matting systems, but the V-22 has yet to be tested on these alternative surfaces, Jiavaras added.
Copyright Inside the Navy. Reprinted with permission.
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