CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines (AP) — The U.S. Marines' newest and in some quarters most controversial transport airplane is showing the world what it's got — for the sake of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, and perhaps its own future.
The MV-22 Osprey, which can tilt its rotors to fly like either a helicopter or a fixed-wing aircraft, is delivering tons of aid every day to people affected by the Nov. 8 storm.
The U.S. military's humanitarian effort presents a golden opportunity: The Marines want to show how safe and versatile the Osprey is, countering critics and helping to persuade allies to buy their own.
Anger over the decision to base the aircraft on the Japanese island of Okinawa, the only place in Asia where they are permanently deployed, has made the aircraft the poster boy of anti-military sentiment there. Opponents cite noise problems and high-profile crashes in the early days of the Osprey, though its safety record since then has been better than any other helicopter-type aircraft.
With its unique design, the Osprey can fly faster and farther and carry heavier loads than the helicopters it replaced.