Fleet Readiness Centre East (FRCE) is preparing to return the MV-22 Osprey aircraft to the fleet after performing a wing-off stow ring replacement.

This will be the first time for a naval aviation depot to complete the procedures.

As part of an inaugural depot-level repair, FRCE artisans handled the corrosion on the K-fittings with the aircraft’s wing-off, instead of the standard wing-on technique.

MV-22 Osprey aircraft has a wing or rotor fold system that allows the aircraft’s nacelles to be rotated downwards, rotor blades to fold inward, and the entire wing to turn 90° clockwise, stacking it above the aircraft’s body.

With this folded configuration, MV-22 can be operated with all the US Navy’s L-class amphibious vessels including landing helicopter assault/landing helicopter dock (LHA/LHD) amphibious ships.

FRCE V-22 overhaul, and repair supervisor Don McLean said: “The stow ring is what allows the plane to stow the wing 180 degrees.

“It also holds the airplane and the wing together. Take the stow ring off the wing and the fuselage will not stay together.”

The corrosion on the aircraft stow ring was found by the V-22 team when the MV-22 was inducted for its planned maintenance.

FRCE V-22 branch head Matt Sinsel said: “Removing the wing is not a process that has been commonly executed.

“We had data to go by, but it was coming mainly from stricken and salvaged aircraft rather than airplanes that were going to go back into a flight status.”

K-fittings house the flaps that controls up and down movement of the aircraft.

According to FRCE’s V-22 production manager Jonathon Risner, the K-fittings work requires intensive collaboration and detailed attention.

Risner said: “Those parts are laser measured, checked and rechecked countless times. They have to be precise.”