The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: CV-22A Osprey

The CV-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. Its mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, ex-filtration and resupply missions for special operations forces. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The CV-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. Its mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, ex-filtration and resupply missions for special operations forces. (U.S. Air Force photo)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter and Boeing

Function: Special Operations Long Range

Speed: 277 mph (cruising speed)

Crew: Four

Production: 50 (planned)

Inventory: 17 

Commentary: The USAF received its first aircraft in January 2007. IOT&E was completed by summer 2008. The first operational deployment, to Africa, took place in November 2008, and the first combat deployment, to Iraqi, in summer 2009.