Marine Corps Arms Osprey - Tests Guns, Rockets & Missiles

Warrior Maven

Osprey Mini-Series Part 1 - Arming the Osprey

By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven

The Marine Corps is now arming its Osprey tiltrotor aircraft with a range of weapons to enable its assault support and escort missions in increasingly high-threat combat environments.

Rockets, guns and missiles are among the weapons now under consideration, as the Corps examines requirements for an “all-quadrant” weapons application versus other possible configurations such as purely "forward firing" weapons.

“The current requirement is for an allquadrant weapons system. We are re-examining that requirement—we may find that initially, forward firing weapons could bridge the escort gap until we get a new rotary wing or tiltotor attack platform, with comparable range and speed to the Osprey,” Capt. Sarah Burns, Marine Corps Aviation, told Warrior Maven in a statement

Some weapons, possibly including Hydra 2.75inch folding fin laser guided rockets or .50-cal and 7.62mm guns, have been fired as a proof of concept, Burns said.

“Further testing would have to be done to ensure we could properly integrate them,” she added.

All weapons under consideration have already been fired in combat by some type of aircraft, however additional testing and assessment of the weapons and their supporting systems are necessary to take the integration to the next step.

“We want to arm the MV-22B because there is a gap in escort capability. With the right weapons and associated systems, armed MV-22Bs will be able to escort other Ospreys performing the traditional personnel transport role,” Burns added.

The Hydra 2.75inch rockets, called the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS), have been fired in combat on a range of Army and Marine Corps helicopters; they offer an alternative to a larger Hellfire missiles when smaller, fast-moving targets need to be attacked with less potential damage to a surrounding area.

Over the years, the weapon has been fired from AH-64 Apaches, Navy Fire Scout Drones, Marine Corps UH-1Ys, A-10s, MH-60s Navy helicopters and Air Force F-16s, among others.

BAE Photo

Bell-Boeing designed a special pylon on the side of the aircraft to ensure common weapons carriage. The Corps is now considering questions such as the needed stand-off distance and level of lethality.

Adding weapons to the Osprey would naturally allow the aircraft to better defend itself should it come under attack from small arms fire, missiles or surface rockets while conducting transport missions; in addition, precision fire will enable the Osprey to support amphibious operations with suppressive or offensive fire as Marines approach enemy territory.

Furthermore, weapons will better facilitate an Osprey-centric tactic known as "Mounted Vertical Maneuver" wherein the tiltrotor uses its airplane speeds and helicopter hover and maneuver technology to transport weapons such as mobile mortars and light vehicles, supplies and Marines behind enemy lines for a range of combat missions -- to include surprise attacks.

Also, while arming the Osprey is primarily oriented toward supporting escort and maneuver operations, there are without question a few combat engagements the aircraft could easily find itself in while conducting these missions.

For example, an armed Osprey would be better positioned to prevent or stop swarming small boat attack wherein enemy surface vessels attacked the aircraft. An Osprey with weapons could also thwart enemy ground attacks from RPGs, MANPADS or small arms fire.

Finally, given the fast pace of Marine Corps and Navy amphibious operations strategy evolution, armed Ospreys could support amphibious assaults by transporting Marines to combat across wider swaths of combat areas.

Osprey Mini-Series Part 1 - Arming the Osprey

                             \*\*\*Part 2 - Osprey Flies to 2060 (Coming soon)\*\*\*  

More Weapons and Technology - WARRIOR MAVEN (CLICK HERE)

-- Kris Osborn, Managing Editor of WARRIOR MAVEN (CLICK HERE) can be reached at --

Comments (5)
No. 1-5

Quote: "Marine Corps arms Osprey, tests guns, rockets and missiles", please tell Warrior Maven that "rockets and Missiles" are the SAME THING! Unless you know something we don't, there are no Electric, CNG or Gasoline powered Missiles. They are ALL Rockets! The VTOL Ospey is a Nightmare, the Marines and USAF can barely keep them in the air without major mishaps that cause crashes. I flew UH-1 Gunships and AH-1 Cobra's from the D thru F models while in the USAF in Nam. Cambodia and Laos out of Thailand with the 20th SOS. Sadly now our SOS has turned to the POS Osprey which will NEVER be as fast or highly maneuverable as any single rotor Helo in the roll as an Attack or Ground Cover platform. This is the WRONG way to go with the problem plagued Osprey. It is a Piece of Shit.


Actually, the difference between a rocket and a missile is a rocket is unguided, a missile has some form of a guidance system, i.e. heat, radar, video, etc... What powers them really has nothing to do with the classification of rocket or missile. Also, both have warheads unless they are practice rounds, and technically both have sensors if you consider the 'device' to detonate the warhead, i.e. proximity, contact, etc..


Actually, no, a "rocket" IS an engine-specific vehicle, and it certainly can be guided. What do you think "space rockets" are that carry payloads into space? They are certainly guided.

Rockets also can carry warheads too, as well as transport satellites, cargoes, and humans.

All ballistic missiles that are powered into space, above the troposphere, are also "rockets". The Soviets and now Russians call their ballistic missiles "rockets", and correctly so.

A missile is by definition a weaponized, unmanned aerial or space vehicle. A missile may be powered by rocket, or it may be powered instead by an air breathing engine such as a turbojet or, in the case of hypersonics, a scramjet. A rocket is always powered by a non-air breathing engine, and may be guided, or unguided, and manned or unmanned, and weaponized or may be a transport vehicle.

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Thanks for engaging with Warrior Maven - appreciate the expert insight and discussion - glad to have you. Kris