Welcome to Osprey News Online
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On behalf of the entire Bell Boeing team, welcome to the new Osprey News Online. We hope you’ll stop by often for the latest and greatest V-22 news and information.
It’s been another landmark year in the evolution of the V-22 Osprey Program. In deployments around the world, the proven Osprey continues to change the way missions are accomplished for our U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations Command customers. Meanwhile, here at home, the Bell Boeing Team remains focused on refining, improving, and expanding our core competencies as we manufacture and market the world’s most revolutionary aircraft. Some of the highlights, covered in more detail in this edition, include:
- Last January, Bell Boeing was awarded Phase I of a two-phase Joint Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract from Naval Air Systems Command. The $581 million contract provides integrated logistics support for both the USMC MV-22 and USAF CV-22 over a five-year period.
- The Air Force declared Initial Operational Capability for its CV-22 aircraft in March 2009. By the end of the summer, Air Force Special Operations Command had deployed CV-22s from its 8th Special Operations Squadron to Iraq for the aircraft’s first operational deployment in support of a combatant commander.
- April signaled the end of an 18-month deployment to Iraq for 12 MV-22 Ospreys. While deployed, the aircraft flew more than 10,000 hours; transported over 45,000 Marines, Sailors and civilians; and hauled approximately 2.2 million pounds of cargo. The V-22 fleet has now accumulated more than 60,000 flight hours with more than 50 percent of that total coming in just the past two years.
- Setting sail on the Osprey’s first at-sea deployment, 10 MV-22s from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 departed in mid-May for six-months aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) as part of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. During the deployment, two MV-22s performed a ship-to-shore emergency medical evacuation of an injured sailor, marking the first time the Osprey had been used to conduct such a mission from sea.
- A software update released over the summer has increased the maximum level flight airspeed of the V-22 from 250 knots to 270 knots, and the USAF’s 413th Flight Test Squadron has continued testing a new, belly-mounted turret gun at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
- The U.S. Marine Corps spent much of 2009 preparing for the fall deployment of an MV-22 squadron to Afghanistan. By the end of 2009, Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina will have converted the last of its six CH-46 squadrons to transition to the MV-22 Osprey. Plans call for 10 more MV-22 squadrons to be located on the West Coast, with the first Ospreys scheduled to begin arriving in California in 2010.
- Construction was completed in July on a 176,000-square-foot addition to the main assembly area at Bell Helicopter’s Military Aircraft Assembly and Delivery Center in Amarillo, Texas. With more than 500,000 square feet of assembly and office space under one roof, the Center now has room for 12 fully-assembled Ospreys. With the upgraded facility complete, we are on track to ramp up annual V-22 production from 19 in 2009 to 28 in 2010, and then to 36 in 2011 and beyond.
I invite you now to explore the pages on this Web site to learn more about the incredible V-22 Osprey. We hope you’ll learn something new about the aircraft and, more importantly, about the remarkable servicemen and women who fly and maintain it each and everyday. The Bell Boeing Team, which includes the thousands of dedicated men and women who work on every aspect of the V-22 program, are honored to provide America’s troops with this transformational tiltrotor aircraft.
Vice President, Bell Boeing V-22 Program