V-22 Osprey Interests Israel, Canada, UAE
U.S. Eyes V-22 Aircraft Sales to Israel, Canada, UAE. The U.S. government is eyeing Israel, Canada and the United Arab Emirates as possible initial foreign buyers of the V-22 Osprey, a tilt-rotor aircraft built by Boeing Co and Bell Helicopter, a top U.S. Marine Corps official told Reuters.
Lieutenant General Terry Robling, deputy Marine Corps commandant for aviation, said U.S. officials were continuing to drive down the cost of the aircraft and hoped to sell it to allies overseas to keep the production line running past 2018.
U.S. officials plan to show off the aircraft, which flies like an airplane but tilts its rotors to take off and land like helicopter, at the Farnborough Air Show outside London in July. It also made appearances at the Dubai and Singapore air shows in recent months, Robling told Reuters aboard a military aircraft after a Marine Corps event at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc, and Boeing issued a news release in December after the Dubai air show, saying the aircraft had received "significant interest" from potential customers, but it did not identify them.
Boeing and Bell have been trying to generate foreign interest for years, but potential buyers were holding back to see how the plane did in combat, and because of the relatively high price of buying and operating the plane -- both of which are now coming down.
Washington is increasingly looking to foreign military sales to keep the cost of weapons systems from rising as the Pentagon cuts its own orders to strip $487 billion from its planned defense budgets over the next decade.
Robling said Israel, Canada and the UAE had expressed interest in the aircraft, but had not received formal pricing and technical information for the Osprey.
The Marines will ask lawmakers to approve a five-year procurement plan for 91 aircraft that will run through fiscal 2017 -- 24 less than initially planned for the period.
But the service still plans to buy those aircraft and has not changed its overall requirement, Robling said, although he acknowledged that postponing production resulted in more uncertainty given the current difficult budget environment.
Marine Corps Commandant James Amos this month told U.S. lawmakers that the Osprey, which can cruise at 290 miles an hour -- twice the rate of military helicopters -- has performed "exceedingly well" since being put into operation. He said it gives U.S. and coalition forces a "maneuver advantage and operational reach unmatched by any other tactical aircraft."
The CV-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. Its mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.
This versatile, self-deployable aircraft offers increased speed and range over other rotary-wing aircraft, enabling Air Force Special Operations Command aircrews to execute long-range special operations missions. The CV-22 can perform missions that normally would require both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. The CV-22 takes off vertically and, once airborne, the nacelles (engine and prop-rotor group) on each wing can rotate into a forward position.
The CV-22 is equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, forward-looking infrared sensor and other advanced avionics systems that allow it to operate at low altitude in adverse weather conditions and medium- to high-threat environments.
The CV-22 is the Special Operation Forces variant of the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey. The first two test aircraft were delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in September 2000. The 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB, N.M., began CV-22 aircrew training with the first two production aircraft in August 2006.
The first operational CV-22 was delivered to Air Force Special Operations Command's 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in January 2007. Initial operational capability was achieved in 2009. The 27th Special Operations Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, NM, received its first CV-22 in May 2010. A total of 50 CV-22 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by 2016.
Primary Function: Special operations forces long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply
Power Plant: Two Rolls Royce-Allison AE1107C turbo shaft engines
Thrust: More than 6,200 shaft horsepower per engine
Wingspan: 84 feet, 7 inches (25.8 meters)
Length: 57 feet, 4 inches (17.4 meters)
Height: 22 feet, 1 inch (6.73 meters)
Rotary Diameter: 38 feet (11.6 meters)
Speed: 277 miles per hour (241 knots) (cruising speed)
Ceiling: 25,000 feet (7,620 meters)
Maximum Vertical Takeoff Weight: 52,870 pounds (23,982 kilograms)
Maximum Rolling Takeoff Weight: 60,500 pounds (27,443 kilograms)
Armament: 1 x .50 Cal Machine gun on ramp
Range: combat radius of 500 nautical miles with 1 internal auxiliary fuel tank ; unlimited range with aerial refueling
Payload: 24 troops (seated), 32 troops (floor loaded) or 10,000 pounds of cargo Unit cost: $89 million (fiscal 2005 dollars)
Crew: Four (pilot, copilot and two flight engineers)
Builders: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Amarillo, Texas; Boeing Company, Defense and Space Group, Helicopter Division, Philadelphia.
Deployment Date: 2006
Inventory: Active duty, 17
Source: 26 February 2012 - Reuters News & af.mil
Photo: A CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 71st Special Operations Squadron, 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland Air Force, Base New Mexico, prepares to land as part of a training mission in Northern New Mexico. (Photo by USAF)