Bell-Boeing’s MV-22 Osprey: The US Navy’s New Carrier


Bell Helicopter and Boeing products

In January of 2015, the US Navy announced that the MV-22 Osprey will replace the C-2A Greyhound as the force’s primary aircraft for carrier on board delivery (COD) missions. The Navy currently has a fleet of 35 Greyhound turboprops. Manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the aging C-2As were first introduced in 1966 with the Navy’s newest C-2As dating back to the 1990s. As a derivative of the company’s airborne early warning E-2 Hawkeye aircraft, the Greyhound was fitted with a widened fuselage and rear door for cargo loading. On January 5, 2015 in a memo signed by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert, and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford, the US Navy decided to replace the Greyhounds rather than upgrade them with new wings, a new cockpit, and a new engine system as was previously planned.

The replacement aircraft, the MV-22 Osprey was developed from a collaboration between helicopter manufacturer Bell Helicopter and aerospace giant The Boeing Company. The Osprey was first introduced in 2007 as a combination aircraft with characteristics of both helicopter and turboprop aircraft. This tiltrotor is designed for capability in both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and short takeoff and landing (STOL) operations and can embark and land on a large range of naval carrier ships.

Although the aircraft’s readiness capability is still under debate, with erroneous inventory reports and work orders submitted by five squadron commanders between 2009 and 2011, the Osprey is favored for its multiple functionality, potentially proving useful in streamlining the Navy’s training, logistics, and operations. The Navy intends for the MV-22 to be used in a number of roles, including carrier delivery missions, transport, search and rescue missions, and special forces missions. Four MV-22s will be procured annually from 2018 to 2020 for a total of 12 aircraft.

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