Mercy conducts first ever flight deck landing of V-22 Osprey

16 April 2021

From Sarah Burford, Military Sealift Command Pacific

The landing took place following a maintenance period where the ship's flight deck was expanded and reinforced.
Sailors aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) observe an MV-22B Osprey assigned to Air Test and Evaluation (HX) Squadron 21 of Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., land on the ship’s flight deck for the first time Apr. 14.
Sailors aboard USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) observe an MV-22B Osprey land on the ship’s flight deck for the first time. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Jake Greenberg)
Sailors aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) observe an MV-22B Osprey assigned to Air Test and Evaluation (HX) Squadron 21 of Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., land on the ship’s flight deck for the first time Apr. 14.
210414-N-DA693-1126
Sailors aboard USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) observe an MV-22B Osprey land on the ship’s flight deck for the first time. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Jake Greenberg)
Photo By: Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L. Greenberg
VIRIN: 210414-N-DA693-1126

PACIFIC OCEAN - Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) is currently conducting dynamic interface testing operations off the coast of Southern California. The operations are tests for compatibility usage of variants of the V-22 Osprey and MH-60 Seahawk with the ship's new flight deck, and the first time a V-22 has landed on an MSC hospital ship.

The testing takes place following a seven-month maintenance period where the ship's flight deck was expanded and reinforced to accommodate the size, weight and heat of larger aircraft, allowing the ship to receive patients and supplies through a variety of aviation platforms.

Over the course of several days, the ship will exercise with the V-22, practicing take-offs and landings from Mercy's flight deck, followed by operations with the MH-60s. Increased flight operations will allow critical patients a quicker route to the ship for treatment, vice a slower boat ride from one of the ships tender boats.

Because this is the first time the V-22s have conducted flight operations onboard Mercy, Navy personnel from San Diego, Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63), America-class amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA 7), Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) Squadron 3 and Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Squadron 49, are onboard to train and assist the civil service mariner crew.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Apr. 14, 2021) Sailors aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) fuel an MV-22B Osprey assigned to Air Test and Evaluation (HX) Squadron 21 of Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., on the ship’s flight deck for the first time Apr. 14. Mercy is underway off the coast of Southern California completing a Dynamic Interface exercise, where the ship’s aviation facilities will be evaluated for compatibility with the V-22 Osprey and MH-60 Seahawk, and establish launch and recovery windows in adverse weather conditions. Mercy recently returned to its homeport in San Diego from a regular overhaul in Portland, Ore., where improvements were made to its flight deck to support multiple aircraft platforms. Mercy must be in a five-day-activation status in order to support missions over the horizon, and be ready, reliable and resilient to support mission commanders. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Greenberg)
210414-N-DA693-1349 Sailors aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) fuel an MV-22B Osprey on the ship’s flight deck for the first time. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Jake Greenberg)
SLIDESHOW | 3 images | 210414-N-DA693-1349 Sailors aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) fuel an MV-22B Osprey on the ship’s flight deck for the first time. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Jake Greenberg)
An MV-22B Osprey lands aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19).
210414-N-LW757-1109 An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Air Test and Evaluation (HX) Squadron 21 takes off from USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) flight deck. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Luke Cunningham)
SLIDESHOW | 3 images | 210414-N-LW757-1109 An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Air Test and Evaluation (HX) Squadron 21 takes off from USNS Mercy’s (T-AH 19) flight deck. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Luke Cunningham)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Apr. 14, 2021) An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Air Test and Evaluation (HX) Squadron 21 of Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., flies over Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) Apr. 14. Mercy is underway off the coast of Southern California completing Dynamic Interface testing, where the ship’s aviation facilities will be evaluated for compatibility with the V-22 Osprey and MH-60 Seahawk, and establish launch and recovery windows in adverse weather conditions. Mercy recently returned to its homeport in San Diego from a regular overhaul in Portland, Ore., where improvements were made to its flight deck to support multiple aircraft platforms. Mercy must be in a five-day-activation status in order to support missions over the horizon, and be ready, reliable and resilient to support mission commanders. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Luke Cunningham)
210414-N-LW757-1193 An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Air Test and Evaluation (HX) Squadron 21 flies over hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). (U.S. Navy/MC3 Luke Cunningham)
SLIDESHOW | 3 images | 210414-N-LW757-1193 An MV-22B Osprey assigned to Air Test and Evaluation (HX) Squadron 21 flies over hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). (U.S. Navy/MC3 Luke Cunningham)

"This is a historic event in the storied life of the USNS Mercy, and for MSC," said Capt. Kendall Bridgewater, commander, Military Sealift Command Pacific. "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."

The dynamic interface operations are one of several training, testing and inspection periods the Mercy will undergo in preparation for future missions, including the Pacific Partnership humanitarian mission.

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