The V-22 Osprey was the first aircraft designed from the ground up to meet the needs of all four U.S. armed services. In partnership with Boeing, Bell Helicopter Textron built the tiltrotor aircraft that takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter, and once airborne, can convert to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed and high-altitude flight. Boeing was assigned responsibility for the fuselage, all subsystems, digital avionics and fly-by-wire flight-control systems.
The 30-ton (27-tonne) multirole aircraft can transport assault troops and cargo, undertake combat search-and-rescue and fleet logistic support and provide long-range transportation for special operations. On Sept. 5, 2013, the Bell Boeing V-22 program also completed an initial test of the V-22 Osprey performing as an aerial refueling tanker.
By 1997, requirements called for production of 523 Ospreys, with the first to enter service during 1999. The first V-22 built to production standards made its first flight in February 1997 and was delivered March 15, 1997, to the V-22 integrated test team at the Patuxent River Naval Air Warfare Center in Maryland. Eleven were produced by the end of 2000.
After the crash of a V-22 on Dec. 11, 2000, the aircraft did not return to flight until May 29, 2002. Five were flying by the end of 2002. The first passenger to fly aboard a V-22 after it returned to flight was Lt. Gen. Michael W. Hagee, incoming commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
On June 13, 2013, the Bell Boeing V-22 program was awarded a five-year U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) contract for the production and delivery of 99 V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, including 92 MV-22 models for the Marine Corps and seven CV-22 models for the Air Force Special Operations Command. The contract also included a provision permitting NAVAIR to order up to 23 additional aircraft. At that time, more than 200 V-22 Ospreys were in operation and the worldwide fleet had amassed more than 185,000 flight-hours, with half of those hours logged in the previous three years.
|First flight||March 19, 1989|
|Classification||Tiltrotor transport helicopter|
|Rotor diameter||38 feet|
|Span||83 feet 10 inches (rotor included)|
|Fuselage length||57 feet 4 inches|
|Gross weight||Short takeoff, 55,000 pounds; vertical takeoff, 47,500 pounds|
|Top speed||363 mph|
|Cruising speed||317 mph|
|Power||Two 6,150-shaft-horsepower Allison gas turbine T406-AD-400 engines|
|Accommodation||3 crew, 24 passengers|