The U.S Department of Defense announced on Monday that Bell-Boeing, a joint venture between Boeing and Bell Helicopter, received a $146 contract modification for upgrade MV-22 aircraft.
The joint venture’s latest contract modification with the U.S. Navy includes the option to upgrade nine MV-22 aircraft from the Block B to the Block C configuration, as well as planned maintenance intervals for eight MV-22 aircraft, in support of the Common Configuration-Readiness and Modernization (CC-RAM) program.
Under the contract modification, announced by the Department of Defense on 4 November, work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania and Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in March 2022.
The MV-22 is a multirole combat aircraft that uses tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its nacelles can be rotated to transition the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight.
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.
Expanded capacity and effectiveness built into the Electronic Warfare system — including additional chaff/flare dispensers — increases the Osprey’s ability to defeat air-to-air and ground-to-air threats. The Block C also provides greater situational awareness with enhanced cockpit and cabin displays.
More than 160 Osprey tiltrotors are currently in operation and the worldwide fleet has amassed more than 130,000 flight hours, with nearly half of those hours logged in the past two years.
According to Naval Safety Center records, the MV-22 has the lowest Class A mishap rate of any tactical rotorcraft in the Marine Corps during the past decade. Navy flight-hour cost data also show that the Osprey has the lowest cost per seat-mile (cost to transport one person over a distance of one mile) of any U.S. naval transport rotorcraft over the past two years.