The U.S. Navy officially accepted the first CMV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft during a reveal ceremony on Feb. 7 at Bell’s Assembly Center in Amarillo, Tx.
The milestone comes after only four years of design, production and first flight. The fleet delivery is to follow next year.
The CMV-22B is a variant of the U.S. Marine Corps’ MV-22B Osprey and is the replacement for the C-2A Greyhound for the Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) mission. The aircraft will be used to transport personnel, mail, supplies and high-priority cargo from shore bases to aircraft carriers at sea.
To meet the operational needs of the Navy, the test program proactively sought risk reduction opportunities leveraging the MV-22B for shipboard and high gross weight testing. In addition, the integrated test team is focused on delta testing, differences between the MV-22B and CMV-22B, shortening the overall test program. Finally, the Navy stood up a Naval Aviation Training Support Group (NATSG) at MCAS New River, enabling the CMV-22 to utilize the infrastructure at Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron (VMMT) 204. These, combined with other “speed to the fleet” initiatives, allow for initial deployment just 18 months from first flight.
The first of two CMV-22B aircraft intended for the developmental test recently ferried to Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax River). The aircraft is assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21, the squadron leading the developmental test efforts for the program. The first operational squadron, Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30, is scheduled to receive the aircraft this summer.
HX-21 and Bell conducted the aircraft’s first flight in December prior to transiting cross-country to continue the development test. The integrated test team, which includes pilots, aircrew, engineers and maintainers from HX-21, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Boeing and Bell, will conduct developmental test over the next year.
The CMV-22B will be capable of transporting up to 6,000 pounds of cargo and/or personnel over a 1,150 nautical mile range. This expanded range is due to the addition of two new 60 gallon tanks installed in the wing for an additional 120 gallons of fuel and the forward sponson tanks were redesigned for additional capacity.
The CMV-22B variant has a beyond line-of-sight high frequency radio, a public address system for passengers, and an improved lighting system for cargo loading. The aircraft will also be capable of internally transporting the F-35C Lightning II engine power module.