WASHINGTON, D.C. - During a Senate Armed Services Committee nominations hearing, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) advocated for additional CV-22 Ospreys in support of military operations. Kirtland Air Force Base, Cannon Air Force Base, and the New Mexico National Guard all perform critical missions on the aircraft.
The 27th Special Operations Wing (SOW) at Cannon conducts a number of missions in support of special operations missions overseas. The 58th SOW at Kirtland serves as the premier training site for Air Force special operations and combat search and rescue aircrews. Meanwhile, the New Mexico Air National Guard trains mission-ready special operations and combat search and rescue crews on CV-22s with the 58th SOW at Kirtland.
The CV-22 Osprey provides our nation a unique capability to fulfill long-range search and rescue missions but has suffered losses over time due to attrition and increased operational tempo. General Votel, current Special Operations Commander, agreed with Senator Heinrich that CV-22's have been a "game changer" for the military and voiced support for the procurement of an additional three to four aircraft for attrition reserve.
Senator Heinrich also asked General Votel whether he saw a role for the National Guard in terms of personnel recovery. General Votel responded: "I absolutely do see a role for our reserve component elements doing that."
Last year, Senator Heinrich worked to support the additional procurement of a CV-22 in the omnibus.