The fleet of more than 375 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey military tiltrotor aircraft has surpassed 500,000 flight hours. “The V-22 provides unmatched capability for the U.S. Marines and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Matthew Kelly, V-22 joint program manager. “The platform’s influence on our nation’s defense is seen through its extensive operational and humanitarian impact across the globe.” Since 2007, the V-22 has continuously served the Marines and Navy (MV-22), as well as Air Force Special Operations (CV-22). A third variant, the CMV-22, is scheduled to join the U.S. Navy fleet in 2020.
The world’s only production tiltrotor is supported by Bell Boeing with maintenance, training, on-site field representatives, and data analytics. Working with Bell Boeing, the Marines’ Common Configuration Readiness and Modernization program (CC-RAM), the Air Force’s configuration reducing modification plan, and nacelle wiring and structure improvements are expected to increase the readiness of the V-22 fleet by 10-12 percent. “We are committed to providing unparalleled support to our partners by steadily improving Osprey readiness and capabilities now and in the future,” said Chris Gehler, Bell V-22 vice president and Bell Boeing deputy program director.
Derived from the Bell XV-15 research aircraft, the V-22 first flew in 1989. MV-22s joined the presidential support fleet, Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1), the “Nighthawks,” in 2013. HMX-1 currently operates 12 MV-22Bs in support of presidential and VIP missions. The V-22 is powered by two Rolls-Royce T-406/AE 1107C turboshafts (6,150 shp each), has a top cruising speed of 275 knots, a range of 879 nm, and a combat radius of 390 nm. Average per unit cost is $84 million, according to the Department of Defense’s Selected Acquisition Report. (Flyaway prices vary from $76 million to $86.8 million depending on configuration.)
Bell Boeing is currently under contract to produce at least 58 more of the aircraft through 2025, including 39 CMV-22Bs for the U.S. Navy, which will be used for carrier onboard delivery missions. The V-22 program comprises nearly half of Bell’s military revenues. Military customers accounted for nearly two-thirds of Bell’s 2018 total revenues of $3.18 billion.