March 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps announced the operational capability of the California-based helicopter squadron known as the "Ugly Angels" on Monday.
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 362 of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was declared "fully operational capable" last week, the Corps said in a press release, indicating that its MV-22B Osprey helicopters are prepared to support the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. The squadron was first activated in 1952 and deactivated in 2012, but return in 2018 as an Osprey squadron.
The new MV-22B variant can carry up to 18 combat-ready Marines, and is used as an assault transport for troops, equipment and supplies, and can operate from ships or expeditionary airfields.
The aircraft is a tiltrotor helicopter with both vertical takeoff and landing, and short takeoff and landing capabilities, in service with modifications since 2007. Made by Bell Helicopter and Boeng, it is meant to merge a conventional helicopter's functions with those of a turboprop aircraft.
The squadron's training began in 2019 and cleared all five of its major inspections, the Marine Corps statement said, leading to the designation.
"It was a big day," said Lt. Col. Matthew McSorely, commanding officer of VMM-362, of the designation announcement. "We launched a report saying the squadron is ready-to-go, and I am extremely proud of all the hard work and effort the Marines put into building this squadron from the ground up."
"Now we can represent the MAW with absolute confidence as a fully operational squadron," McSorely added. "The training we have completed up to this point will allow us to support the ground forces' mission without reservations."