The first V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft in the US Navy carrier onboard delivery configuration has completed its first flight.
CMV-22B Osprey is the latest variant of the tiltrotor fleet, joining the MV-22 and CV-22 used by the US Marine Corps and US Air Force.
The flight test took place at Bell’s Amarillo assembly center.
The US Navy will use the CMV-22B to replace the C-2A Greyhound for transporting personnel, mail, supplies and high-priority cargo from shore bases to aircraft carriers at sea.
Bell Boeing designed the Navy variant specifically for carrier fleet operations by providing increased fuel capacity for the extended range requirement. The mission flexibility of the Osprey will increase operational capabilities and readiness, in addition to ferrying major components of the F-35 engine.
“With the ability to travel up to 1,150 nautical miles, the CMV-22B will be a lifeline for our servicemen and women out at sea,” said Kristin Houston, vice president, Boeing Tiltrotor Programs and director, Bell Boeing V-22 Program.
Bell Boeing said it would deliver the first CMV-22B to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 in early 2020 for developmental test.
The aircraft is expected to field with initial operational capability (IOC) and deploy for the first time in 2021. While the program of record has 48 CMV-22 projected, the Navy currently plans to procure only 44 aircraft.
Bell Boeing received first funds for work on the CMV-22 variant in 2018 when the US Navy awarded the company a $4.3 billion contract for the delivery of a total of 58 Ospreys.