The US Navy has received its first CMV-22B Osprey carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft.
Bell Boeing officially delivered the aircraft to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 21 (HX-21) ‘Blackjack’ at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, for further developmental testing. To celebrate the handover, which took place earlier in the month, the two companies held a reveal ceremony at Bell’s facility in Amarillo, Texas, on February 10.
Capt Dewon Chaney, commodore of the US Navy’s Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing, said: “The CMV-22B brings expanded capabilities not only to the [COD] mission, but to the high-end fight… We are anxious to get it to the fleet and show off its immense capabilities and agile flexibility.”
The US Navy ordered the CMV-22B in June 2018, with 48 examples due to replace the service’s ageing fleet of Grumman C-2A Greyhound fixed-wing COD aircraft, which began operations in the 1960s.
Kristin Houston, vice president of Boeing’s tiltrotor programmes and director of the Bell Boeing V-22 programme, said: “The Osprey will transform carrier fleet operations… We’ve brought together the best teams for aircraft design, training, and sustainment to ensure the navy is ready for any mission from day one.”
The CMV-22B first flew in December last year and can carry up to 6,000lb (2,721kg) for more than 1,150nm (1,323 miles/2,129km). It will be the only aircraft in the navy capable of transporting major components of the F-35C engine directly to an aircraft carrier flight deck, which is critical for naval logistics and support.
The next step in the development of the CMV-22B will be it gaining its initial operational capability (IOC), which is planned for next year.