Sunday, February 08, 2009

Marine Corps Training Exercise

I've been meaning to post these photos for a while now. They were taken from outside my house on January 11th. For several days these scary looking aircraft would come skimming over the trees in pairs. One day they came over for three consecutive passes, right over our house! In fact, I saw them all over the city. You'd here them long before you ever saw them, particularly given the low altitudes they were flying at. Unfortunately I never had my camera ready at the best moments but still got a few shots. I later heard that some kind of Marine Corps training exercise was going on in the area, which makes sense given the models of aircraft involved.

The first picture is a rather distant but beautifully framed shot of a Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion. It's the largest helicopter in the US Military inventory, and is used by the Marine Corps as a heavy lift helicopter. I was disappointed not to see it flying over with a M198 Howitzer slung underneath, but I guess there are some safety concerns when operating over friendly residential areas.

The second aircraft pictured in a V-22 tiltrotor aircraft. These things are scary to behold, I think because they can drone around at low altitude like a helicopter, then tilt the rotors forward and take off over the horizon like a regular aeroplane. The Marines use the MV-22 variant, and were the first to deploy them in combat in Iraq.

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