After two of its CV-22 Ospreys were shot at over South Sudan in December, the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) wants to beef up the aircraft.
The December attack critically injured two service members, according to Defense News.
AFSOC commander Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold told reporters on Monday that armor panels developed for the bird could add 800 pounds of weight if the full “blanket” is used, but crews have the option to use the armor sheeting or not.
… The optional armor, which is being fielded now, can be put on in pieces to protect only certain parts of the aircraft, but any extra armor will create tradeoffs, Heithold said, either in how many troops can be carried or how far the aircraft can fly before refueling is necessary.
AFSOC is also working with industry to develop a forward-firing gun, he said.
“We’ve been challenged on this since the inception of this airplane,” Heithold told Defense News. “We’re looking at various solutions that will be simple — not exquisite — solutions that fire forward so that I can keep heads down” going into a landing zone.