Thirty years of Tiltrotoring
19 March marked the thirtieth anniversary of the maiden flight of the prototype Bell-boeing V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor, more than 375 examples of which are in service with the US Marine Corps and US Air Force, jointly logging 450,000 flight hours in combat support and humanitarian support operations. From 2021 CMV22Bs will begin operating with the US Navy, the 39 CMV-22BS on order replacing Grumman C-2A Greyhound twin turboprops for carrier onboard delivery (COD) missions ferrying personnel, cargo and mail to carriers offshore, and for shore- or sea-based combat search-and-rescue missions.
“The V-22 has become one of the most in-demand and reliable aircraft in military service, with its unique vertical manoeuvrability combined with the speed, range and fuelefficiency of a fixed-wing airplane,” says Colonel Matthew Kelly, USMC V-22 Joint Program Manager. “Since that first flight the V-22 has proven its worth on battlefields around the world… The US services and our allies look forward to the next thirty years of V-22s dominating the battlefield.”
The V-22 has been deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait, and participated in humanitarian operations, including earthquake relief in Haiti and Japan and hurricane response in the USA. Other missions include airborne command and control, airborne fleet logistics, combat search-and-rescue and special operations support. It is also operated by the US Marine Corps’ prestigious Marine Helicopter Squadron One, HMX-1, which provides helicopter transport for the US President. Its fleet of Ospreys are not yet cleared to carry the President, although the First Lady flew in one last December, visiting shore bases and landing on the deck of the aircraft carrier George H W Bush. HMX-1’S MV-22S are used primarily to carry Presidential support personnel and members of the media.
The prototype Bell-boeing V-22 Tiltrotor
HMX-1'S MV-22 fleet is not yet cleared to carry the President