The US Navy’s first CMV-22B Osprey carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft arrived at Patuxent River on February 2 after completing its ferry flight from Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center in Texas.
This is the first of two CMV-22B aircraft assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21, the squadron leading the developmental test efforts for the program.
“Accepting the first aircraft and ferrying it to Patuxent River to continue developmental testing is a critical step forward for the program,” said US Marine Corps Col. Matthew Kelly, program manager for the V-22 Joint Program Office (PMA-275). “Our government – industry team can be proud of this milestone as we prepare to put the CMV-22B through testing which will ensure it is ready to support the Navy anywhere around the world.”
HX-21 and Bell conducted the aircraft’s first flight in December prior to transiting cross-country.
“The developmental test program is designed to validate the capabilities of the aircraft and ensure they meet the navy’s unique mission,” said Kacie Fleck, PMA-275’s assistant program manager for test and evaluation. “Our integrated test team will complete a variety of ground, flight and avionics test events.”
The integrated test team, which includes pilots, aircrew, engineers and maintainers from HX-21, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Boeing and Bell, will conduct developmental test over the next year. The first operational squadron, Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30, is scheduled to receive the aircraft in summer 2020 and operational test is slated to begin in early 2021.
The CMV-22B is a variant of the MV-22B and is the replacement for the C-2A Greyhound for the COD mission. The aircraft will be used to transport personnel, mail, supplies and high-priority cargo from shore bases to aircraft carriers at sea.
“The CMV-22B will enable the navy to supply the carrier strike groups with what they need to project sea power, anytime, anyplace,” said Kelly.
The CMV-22B will be capable of transporting up to 6,000 pounds of cargo and/or personnel over a 1,150 nautical mile range. This expanded range is due to the addition of two new 60 gallon tanks installed in the wing for an additional 120 gallons of fuel and the forward sponson tanks were redesigned for additional capacity.
The CMV-22B variant has a beyond line-of-sight high frequency radio, a public address system for passengers, and an improved lighting system for cargo loading. The aircraft will also be capable of internally transporting the F-35C Lightning II engine power module.
CMV-22B is scheduled to achieve initial operational capability in 2021.