March 19, 2002
Bell-Boeing gets $770 million for 11 MV-22
WASHINGTON, ( Reuters ) -
The Bell-Boeing aerospace team has been awarded a $770 million contract to build 11 MV-22
``Osprey'' military helicopters in a test program for the troubled tilt-rotor aircraft,
the Pentagon said on Tuesday.
Work on the helicopters is expected to be completed in 2005 by the Bell Helicopter
division of Textron Inc. and Boeing Co. in a planned $40
billion program that has been hit by fatal training crashes.
The Pentagon decided last year to continue low-rate production of the aircraft for
development purposes, but to conduct a two-year testing program to determine if the Marine
Corps will finally buy as many as 360 Ospreys.
The corps hopes the MV-22, which uses swivel engines to take off and land like a
helicopter while flying like a plane, can replace its fleet of aging Vietnam-era troop-carrying
February 28, 2002
Osprey to resume Flight Testing
PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland, USA ( US Naval Air Systems Command Press release ) -
After a year long struggle to save the V-22 "Osprey" aircraft, hailed by military officials as a
cornerstone technology that will have significant and long-term implications for future combat operations, the program is getting ready to embark on a
An important decision that has shaped the future direction of the V-22
Osprey program occurred Dec. 21, 2001, when the Undersecretary of Defense
for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics signed a Program Memorandum
authorizing the return to flight, continued testing and production of the
V-22 Osprey. This Memorandum enabled the V-22 Joint Program Office to
implement a carefully developed plan to correct the aircraft's deficiencies
and resume testing.
The V-22 is scheduled to resume developmental flight testing in late April
2002 at the V-22 test facility, Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division,
Patuxent River, Md. Over an 18-month developmental flight test period, two
MV-22 Engineering, Manufacturing Development (EMD) aircraft and three MV-22
low rate initial production aircraft will return to flight with improvements
in routing of hydraulic/electric lines in the nacelle as well as an upgraded
software system. Developmental flight testing will validate these
engineering and software changes and further test such areas as vortex ring
state boundaries, dynamic shipboard compatibility, formation flying, combat
maneuverability, and low speed hovering and landing conditions when the prop
rotors blow up dust and debris.
A total of 1800 flight test hours are scheduled for the flight test
program which also includes testing of the aircraft's icing, cargo handling,
and radar warning systems. Senior Defense and Navy officials will assess
the testing program at various points and have said that tests will not move
to new areas until engineers fully understand the results of earlier
In July, the Air Force is expected to resume flight testing of the CV-22 at
Edwards Air Force Base, using two EMD aircraft that have been configured
with Special Operations equipment.
"Now that we have an approved way ahead plan, we will return to flight with
a methodical and event driven flight test program that will deliver an
aircraft to the fleet that is safer and more capable than ever before.
Event driven means the V-22 program progress is based on a clearly
articulated set of accomplishments, not a date, " said Col. Dan Schultz,
V-22 joint program manager. "We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that
the V-22 is a reliable, operationally suitable and safe replacement for our
aging medium lift helicopters."
Schultz further added that the V-22's comprehensive developmental flight
test program will put "X's in the outer corners of the flight envelope" and
be the most extensive testing undertaken of the vortex ring state
phenomenon. "In this regard, we will dedicate one aircraft for one year of
high rate of descent testing and set the standard for flying every
conceivable approach to this kind of situation," said Schultz.
The V-22, which can take off like a helicopter and then rotate its rotors
and fly like an airplane entered low rate initial production in 1999. The
program had approached a major milestone decision to enter full rate
production when a MV-22 suffered a fatal accident during a routine training
mission in December 2000. Since that time, two independent reviews
conducted by a Department of Defense Blue Ribbon Panel and NASA Ames
Research Center have assessed the safety of the aircraft and the maturity of
the technology to carry out the missions of the user services. Both reviews
have recommended that the program move forward with specific engineering
changes and improvements that will result in a safer and more operationally
capable aircraft. They also concluded that there are no inherent flaws in
the tiltrotor design or known aeromechanics phenomenon that would stop the
safe and orderly deployment of the V-22, and that the program should proceed
with a phased approach in return to flight and fleet introduction.
Part the phased approach will involve a Flight Readiness Review to the Naval
Air Systems Command, the approval authority for returning the aircraft to
flight status. Once the approval authority grants this approval, the phased
return to flight approach will begin at Patuxent River, Md. in late April
2002 with developmental flight testing. This will be followed by the
planned delivery in late 2003 to the Marine Corps of a production aircraft
that will have a redesigned nacelle and software system as well as
reliability and maintainability improvements. The second phase of flight
testing will include another operational evaluation period estimated to
occur between late 2004 and spring of 2005.
The V-22 is the first production tiltrotor in existence. By combining the
hovering characteristics of a helicopter with the speed, range and fuel
efficiency of a turboprop airplane, the V-22 can meet multi-service,
multi-mission requirements. The V-22's leap ahead technology will provide
the Marine Corps and the Air Force with unprecedented capability flexible
enough to permit responsive action in a very uncertain world.
Bell Helicopter Textron (Ft. Worth and Amarillo, Texas) and the Boeing
Company (Philadelphia, PA) jointly produce the V-22 "Osprey."
News: Probes to delay MV-22 Decision-Pentagon ( Jan 25, 2001 )
News: V-22 grounded and production delayed ( Dec 13, 2000 )
V-22 Osprey page