Bell Helicopter announced the successful demonstration of forward-firing capability for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. The exercise took place in November 2014 at the United States Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona.
«The forward-firing demonstration was a great success», said Vince Tobin, vice president and program manager for the Bell Boeing V-22. «We’ve shown the V-22 Osprey can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions, and can hit their targets with a high degree of reliability. Congratulations to the team who has worked hard from initial design to completion of this demonstration».
According to representatives of Bell Helicopter, V-22 Osprey is now one of the safest aircraft operated by the Marine Corps. Since its deployment in 2007, the V-22 has achieved outstanding mission success in deployments to Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The Osprey offers operators (U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command) a wide range of mission capability including raids, Casualty Evacuation, Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel, Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief, resupply, VIP transport, and theater security cooperation.
«Integrating a forward firing capability to the V-22 Osprey will increase its mission set», Tobin continued. «These weapons, once installed, will provide added firepower and reduce reliance on Forward Arming and Refueling Points (FARPs) which are sometimes necessary to supply short range attack rotorcraft in support of V-22 operations. Without the need for FARPs, V-22s can be launched more frequently, and on shorter notice».
Through the end of the third quarter of 2014, Bell Boeing has delivered 242 MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor for the U.S. Marine Corps and 44 CV-22 Osprey for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Note also that Bell Helicopter began initial design work on forward fire capability in mid-2013.
Description and Purpose
The V-22 Osprey is a joint service multi-role combat aircraft utilizing tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed wing aircraft. With its engine nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed (277 mph, 443 km/h), high-altitude flight (25,000 ft, 7,620 m). This unique combination allows the V-22 Osprey to fill an operational niche no other aircraft can approach.
The V-22 Osprey can carry 24 combat troops (Marines or Special Forces soldiers), or up to 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg) of internal cargo or 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg) of external cargo, at twice the speed of a helicopter. It features a cross-coupled drive system so either engine can power the rotors if one engine fails!
For shipboard compatibility, the rotors fold and the wing rotates to minimize the aircraft’s footprint for storage. The V-22 Osprey is the only vertical lift platform capable of rapid self-deployment to any theater of operation, worldwide.
The U.S. Marine Corps has a current requirement for 360 MV-22s to perform combat assault and assault support missions. The U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has a requirement for 50 CV-22s configured for terrain-following, low-level, high-speed flight for long-range special operations.
More than 200 Osprey tiltrotors are currently in operation across 10 Marine Corps and 2 Air Force Special Operations Command Osprey squadrons. The two services have together logged 16 successful combat, humanitarian, ship-based or Special Operations deployments since 2007. The worldwide Osprey fleet has amassed more than 190,000 flight hours, with more than half of those hours logged in the past two years (Source: Boeing).
Safety, survivability and mission efficiency have become hallmarks of the operational fleet. According to Naval Safety Center records, the MV-22 has one of the lowest Class A mishap (in which someone dies or a plane sustains more than $1 million in damage; usually such mishaps are crashes, and all are investigated) rates of any tactical rotorcraft in the Marine Corps during the past decade. Navy flight-hour cost data also show that the Osprey has the lowest cost per seat-mile (cost to transport one person over a distance of one mile) of any U.S. naval transport rotorcraft in each of the last two years.
Marine Corps MV-22s are currently deployed in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting contingency operations, while AFSOC CV-22s are deployed in support of ongoing Special Operations missions.
Boeing Military Aircraft’s Mobility division is responsible for the fuselage, empennage, and all subsystems, digital avionics, and fly-by-wire flight-control systems. While Boeing partner Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., is responsible for the wing, transmissions, rotor systems, engine installation, and final assembly at its completion facility in Amarillo, Texas.
According to Boeing (as of June 2013), 34 V-22 Ospreys were delivered in 2011 and 39 aircraft were delivered in 2012.
Multiyear Contract Details
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey program was awarded a second V-22 Multiyear Procurement (MYPII) contract agreement to provide a total of 99 aircraft for the Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations Command over five years with a substantial savings to the Department of Defense (DOD) and American taxpayers of nearly $1 billion.
The multiyear proposal will bring the fleet near to the full program of record: 360 MV-22s for the Marines and 50 CV-22s for the Air Force.
It should also be mentioned separately that 48 V-22s for the Navy remain part of the program of 459 but are currently unfunded.
Propulsion Two Rolls-Royce AE1107C; 6,150 shp (4,586 kW) each
Length Fuselage: 57.3 ft (17.48.20 m); Stowed: 63.0 ft (19.20 m)
Width Rotors turning: 84.6 ft (25.78 m); Stowed: 18.4 ft (5.61 m)
Height Nacelles vertical: 22.1 ft (6.73 m); Stabilizer: 17.9 ft (5.46 m)
Rotor Diameter 38.1 ft (11.6 m)
Vertical Takeoff Max Gross Weight 52,600 lbs (23,859 kg)
Max Cruise Speed Sea Level (SL): 280 kts (277 mph, 443 km/h)
Ceiling 25,000 ft (7,620 m)
Mission Radius 600 nm (1112 km) – MV-22 Blk B with 24 troops, ramp mounted weapon system, SL STD, 15 min loiter time
Cockpit – crew seats 2 MV/3 CV
Load 24 troops (seated), 32 troops (floor loaded); up to 20,000 pounds (9,072 kg) of internal cargo or 15,000 pounds (6,804 kg) of external cargo