The first CMV-22B Osprey, built by Boeing and Bell Textron Inc. for the U.S. Navy, completed first flight operations at Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center.
The CMV-22B is the latest variant of the tiltrotor fleet, joining the MV-22 and CV-22 used by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force.
The U.S. Navy will use the CMV-22B to replace the C-2A Greyhound for transporting personnel, mail, supplies and high-priority cargo from shore bases to aircraft carriers at sea. Bell Boeing designed the Navy variant specifically for carrier fleet operations by providing increased fuel capacity for the extended range requirement. The mission flexibility of the Osprey will increase operational capabilities and readiness, in addition to ferrying major components of the F-35 engine.
The Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that can take off and land as a helicopter but transit as a turboprop aircraft, and the airframe recently surpassed the threshold of 500,000 flight hours. Osprey, with its increased range, speed and payload capabilities will provide the Navy with significant increases in capability and operational flexibility over the C-2A, which has served the fleet since 1965. CMV-22B operations can be either shore-based, expeditionary or sea-based.
“With the ability to travel up to 1,150 nautical miles, the CMV-22B will be a lifeline for our servicemen and women out at sea,” said Kristin Houston, vice president, Boeing Tiltrotor Programs and director, Bell Boeing V-22 Program. “The quality and safety built into this aircraft will revolutionize the way the U.S. Navy fulfills its critical carrier onboard delivery mission.”
Bell Boeing will deliver the first CMV-22B to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 in early 2020 for developmental tests.
A year ago, the Navy established the first CMV-22 squadron– the Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron 30 “Titans” (VRM-30) – and plans are in the works to establish a sister squadron on the east coast. The first deployment for VRM-30 is currently planned for 2021 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), and officials say the complete transition from the venerable Greyhound to the newer and more modern CMV-22B Osprey is expected by 2028.