MV-22 Osprey aircraft

Boeing and Bell Helicopter joint venture Bell-Boeing has delivered the first Block C modified MV-22 Osprey aircraft to the US Marine Corps (USMC).

The delivery follows the $105m contract modification to Bell-Boeing, placed in November 2009, to provide Block C upgrades for the US Navy’s 91 MV-22 and 21 CV-22 Osprey aircraft.

The Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey can transport 24 combat troops and 20,000lb of internal cargo or 15,000lb of external cargo.

The CV-22 Osprey is a self-deployable aircraft equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, forward-looking infrared radar and other advanced avionics systems.

Naval Air Systems Command Joint V-22 Program Manager Marine Corps Colonel Greg Masiello said: "Whether it’s the addition of weather radar, upgrades to the environmental control system, or improvements for situational awareness, Block C brings enhanced capability to V-22 pilots, maintainers, and crew members throughout the aircraft’s life cycle."

The new Block C variant of the aircraft features a new weather radar system that improves navigation in poor weather conditions and a redesigned environmental conditioning system to enhance aircrew comfort.

The new electronic warfare system will enable MV-22 aircraft to defeat air-to-air and ground-to-air threats while providing greater situational awareness with enhanced cockpit and cabin displays.

The Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey features both vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities, and is designed to perform multiple missions with long-range, high-speed cruise performance.

The aircraft supports naval missions, including combat search and rescue, fleet logistics support, special warfare support, amphibious assault, ship-to-objective manoeuvres and sustained operations ashore.

The V-22 Osprey uses tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft.

More than 160 Osprey tiltrotors are currently in operation.

Image: A US Marine Corps (USMC) MV-22 Osprey aircraft.