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Tiltrotor Technology Presentation
Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, September 08, 1999

General [Jim] Jones [Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps], thank you very much for your kind words of introduction and also for the hard work that you and your entire team have dedicated to this event. Members of the diplomatic community; members of Congress -- brave members of Congress who flew [in the V-22 demonstrator] today; officers and members of the armed forces; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Every few decades of this century the world has witnessed the arrival of weapons platforms that have truly revolutionized national security. Whether it was the powerful Dreadnoughts that plowed the seas in World War I, the aircraft carriers that delivered our fighters and forces to the front lines in World War II, or the bombers, jet fighters, and UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] that dominated the battlespace over Kosovo just this year, those platforms changed not only the quantity of firepower that America brought to bear in a conflict, they transformed the fundamental strategy and the tactics used by our commanders.

The powerful and innovative aircraft that you see here today, the tiltrotors, will have just that effect in the coming century. They are going to revolutionize not only our force projection, they are going to transform the entire way that America conceives and sustains its policy of engagement in the decades ahead.

Every major study and major review of the future capabilities that we are going to need -- from the QDR [Quadrennial Defense Review] to Joint Vision 2010 to the work of the National Defense Panel and the Defense Science Board -- all have pointed to the need for exactly the type of capability that has been brought to fruition in the tiltrotor aircraft.

In a world where our armed forces are pressed to integrate their technologies and work toward greater and greater levels of operational jointness, the V-22 team represents a design that combines efficiency with flexibility.

In a world where chemical and biological weapons increasingly threaten our forces and where opposing forces are more agile and mobile, the V-22 provides greater survivability so that our pilots and airmen can return home safely.

In a world where our Navy, on average, responds to one contingency every five weeks, the V-22 is going cut our response times from weeks down to days and days down to hours. These aircraft can fly twice as fast, twice as high, and two to five times farther than the traditional helicopters.

In a world where our Special Forces and Marines are called upon for a wider and wider array of operations, this tiltrotor technology provides versatility and adaptability in the field. And so it is going to change the way in which we approach everything from assault operations to disaster relief and humanitarian aid, and peacekeeping.

In a world where our Air Force is called upon for more expeditionary operations, this technology is going to extend our reach. And so it is going to allow us to establish air dominance much quicker and give our forward-deployed forces more support.

In a world where our Coast Guard is called upon for more deepwater capability, this technology brings a new dimension to drug interdiction and rescues at sea.

In short, this technology epitomizes what our forces will need and what they will become in the 21st century. This is the Revolution in Military Affairs.

I would like to note, in closing, the tremendous pride that is associated with this project, both in the services and in the private sector. It is a well-earned pride. These aircraft, through development and now into production, have stayed on time and within budget. And as the members of Congress will tell you today, that is no small accomplishment.

So I want to compliment our servicemen and women and the innovative teams at Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing, who have worked on this project so hard for so long. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you will join me in offering a round of applause for their efforts. This is a genuine success story for this Department and for the entire nation. [Applause].