Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Thoughts on the V-22 crash in Morocco

I know the V-22 has posted a pretty good record, but I keep on thinking of what a Pentagon official once said to me: No one has ever built a helicopter with jet-engine-like hydraulic pressures (5,000 ppsi) inside its nacelles — and then landed that aircraft in dusty spots where jet engines fear to go. ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

I know the V-22 has posted a pretty good record, but I keep on thinking of what a Pentagon official once said to me: No one has ever built a helicopter with jet-engine-like hydraulic pressures (5,000 ppsi) inside its nacelles -- and then landed that aircraft in dusty spots where jet engines fear to go. He said that one little bit of dust inside the nacelle could weaken the hydraulic tubing, which if it sprang a leak would shoot fluid so powerfully that it could cut off a man's arm.

When I was a military reporter, this was the only aircraft I promised my wife I'd never fly in.

I know the V-22 has posted a pretty good record, but I keep on thinking of what a Pentagon official once said to me: No one has ever built a helicopter with jet-engine-like hydraulic pressures (5,000 ppsi) inside its nacelles — and then landed that aircraft in dusty spots where jet engines fear to go. He said that one little bit of dust inside the nacelle could weaken the hydraulic tubing, which if it sprang a leak would shoot fluid so powerfully that it could cut off a man’s arm.

When I was a military reporter, this was the only aircraft I promised my wife I’d never fly in.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.