The V-22 Osprey is a marriage of airplane and helicopter: its two huge engines rotate 90 degrees from pointing up, for takeoffs and landings to pointing forward in as little as 12 seconds for speedy forward flight. It is the world's first production-model tilt-rotor. This allows the Bell-Boeing aircraft to go at high speed for something that can take off and land in a tight space. This was an essential ability during the rescue of a pair of American F-15 aviators who bailed out over Libya during on March 21, 2011. Despite a troubled 20-year development program that saw several fatal crashes, V-22s have been used in both Afghanistan and Iraq with only a single deadly accident in 2010 that killed four (the downed V-22 was a rare Air Force special-ops model, and not the more common Marine variant).
For the inside story on America's military operations around the world, check out Mark Thompson's blog, Battleland: Where military intelligence is not a contradiction in terms.