The US Marine Corps Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft has successfully demonstrated its forward-firing capability.
The latest demonstration, carried out as part of tests at the US Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona, US, makes the V-22 aircraft eligible for being armed with forward-firing rockets and missiles.
Bell Boeing V-22 vice-president and programme manager Vince Tobin said: "The forward-firing demonstration was a great success.
"We’ve shown the V-22 can be armed with a variety of forward-facing munitions and can hit their targets with a high degree of reliability."
The Bell Boeing V-22 is claimed to be the safest aircraft operated by the Marine Corps, and has successfully executed missions in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean, since its deployment in 2007.
With its wide range of mission capabilities, the aircraft enables operators to carry out raids, casualty evacuation, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, humanitarian assistance / disaster relief and resupply, as well as VIP transport and theatre security cooperation operations.
Tobin added: "Integrating a forward-firing capability to the Osprey will increase its mission set.
"These weapons, once installed, will provide added firepower and reduce reliance on forward arming and refuelling points (FARPs), which are sometimes necessary to supply short range attack rotorcraft in support of V-22 operations.
"Without the need for FARPs, V-22s can be launched more frequently and on shorter notice."
A total of 242 MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft and 44 CV-2s have already been delivered for the US Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), respectively.
Image: The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Textron Inc.