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Tuesday November 14, 2000

MV-22 Deemed Suitable for Shipboard Operations

USMC HEADQUARTERS, Washington DC, USA ( US Marine Corps Public Affairs ) - he MV-22 Osprey's improved Blade Fold Wing Stow system has been successfully demonstrated at sea, confirming the tiltrotor aircraft's suitability for shipboard operations and moving it one step closer to full-rate production, Marine Corps officials announced today.

In sea trials conducted aboard the USS Bataan Oct. 31, the Multi-Service Operational Test Team verified that a deficiency in the system designed to fold and stow the aircraft's wings and proprotors was corrected. With the problem resolved, the Navy's Operational Test and Evaluation Command declared Wednesday that the MV-22 is operationally effective and suitable and recommended approval for full-rate production.

The successful shipboard evaluation comes one month after a report on the operational evaluation of the MV-22 found the aircraft operationally effective and suitable in a land-based environment. The report stopped short of declaring the MV-22 operationally suitable for sea-based operations, recommending additional evaluation of the stowage system. The shipboard demonstration was observed by Philip Coyle, the Defense Department's Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, who is preparing his own report to Congress on the aircraft's operational effectiveness and suitability.

During the one-day evaluation, the aircraft executed 16 complete BFWS evolutions without failure. The aircraft was put through a timed reconfiguration from a parked and folded position to takeoff, lowered into the hangar bay to demonstrate how it would be positioned for maintenance, and moved back up to the flight deck, where it was unfolded and readied for taxi to a designated spot.

After completion of OPEVAL in July, the stowage system that allows the aircraft to be lowered on the ship's elevator and into the hangar bay and also stowed on deck alongside other aircraft was modified to correct identified deficiencies. Before the OPEVAL report was released last month, the improved system was successfully demonstrated at the V-22 final-assembly facility in Amarillo, Texas. The just-completed sea trials fully validate the modified system's shipboard performance.

While calling for additional evaluation of the BFWS system, the report confirmed that the MV-22 - which is capable of taking off and landing like a helicopter and also flying like a turboprop airplane -- met or exceeded all other Key Performance Parameters. In key capabilities, the MV-22 proved its overwhelming superiority to the CH-46E and CH-53D, the aging medium-lift aircraft the Osprey will replace. In the most telling comparison - to the CH-46E - the MV-22 achieved twice the speed, five times the range and triple the payload capacity.

A decision on whether to enter full-rate production is expected in December.

  • News: MV-22 declared operational over land
  • V-22 Osprey page
  • Bell timeline
  • Boeing timeline