US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has received its 53rd Bell Boeing CV-22B Osprey tiltrotor – a milestone that marks the 400th delivery of a V-22 in the history of the programme.
The first production V-22 – an MV-22B – was handed over to the US Marine Corps (USMC) on May 24, 1999 and deliveries continue today under the US Navy-led V-22 Multiyear Procurement III contract. That deal is valued at US$5bn, covers all variants of the V-22 across the USAF, USMC, US Navy and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), and will run through to 2024.
USMC Col Matthew Kelly, programme manager for the V-22 Joint Program Office (PMA-275), said: “It’s been over 20 years since the first production V-22 was delivered and we are proud to reach another milestone in our 400th delivery. V-22s continue to be in high demand, protecting our country and our allies around the world through combat operations, international training partnerships and humanitarian missions… This platform’s impact can’t be overstated.”
The V-22 is expected to be in service beyond 2040 and, to see its service life through, the platform will undergo capability enhancements and readiness initiatives, such as fleet modernisation, nacelle improvements and digital interoperability efforts. “This platform still has decades remaining to its service life… We are focused on keeping it relevant, reliable and effective well into the future,” Kelly added.
V-22s are in service across the US military. The USAF operates the CV-22B Osprey in support of special forces operations under AFSOC and the USMC employs more than 340 MV-22Bs as troop/equipment transport aircraft. The US Navy took delivery of its first CMV-22B Ospreys earlier this year, which will replace its ageing Grumman C-2A Greyhound aircraft in a carrier onboard delivery (COD) role. The JGSDF has 11 MV-22Bs on order, two of which were delivered to Japan in May.