The V-22 Osprey is a joint service multi-role combat aircraft utilizing tiltrotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed wing aircraft.
With its engine nacelles and rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. This combination allows the V-22 to fill an operational niche no other aircraft can approach.
The Osprey can carry 24 combat troops, or up to 20,000 pounds of internal cargo or 15,000 pounds of external cargo, at twice the speed of a helicopter. It features a cross-coupled drive system so either engine can power the rotors if one engine fails.
For shipboard compatibility, the rotors fold and the wing rotates to minimize the aircraft’s footprint for storage. The V-22 is the only vertical lift platform capable of rapid self-deployment to any theater of operation, worldwide.
Bell Boeing was awarded a five-year production contract for 167 aircraft in March 2008. Contract modifications have since increased the multiyear contract total to 174 aircraft. Bell Boeing has submitted its proposal to the U.S. Navy for a second multiyear procurement contract for the production and delivery of 98 V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. Negotiations are ongoing with a contract award anticipated by December 2012.