Bell Helicopter Textron began working with Boeing Vertol in the 1980s to create a larger version of the XV-15 tilt-rotor demonstration aircraft for the Joint Services Advanced Vertical Lift Aircraft program. The V-22 Osprey, which combines the vertical lift capabilities and the speed-cruise forward flight efficiencies a fixed-wing turboprop plane, was developed in 1985.
The work load within the BellBoing joint venture was split. Bell Helicopter Textron produced and integrated the wings and nacelles. They also fabricated and assembled the drive system, tail surfaced ramp and engines. Boeing Vertol produced and assembled the fuselage and cockpit, avionics and flight controls.
Initial requirements called for 913 Ospreys. They would consist of 52 MV-22A assault models for the US Marine Corps, US Army, and 80 CV-22A long range special forces transports for US Air Force. 50 Ospreys were required for the US Navy. For anti-submarine warfare, the US Navy envisaged 300 SV-22As.
Six prototypes were built and flight testing began in 1989. However, the program suffered a major setback in 1992 when the fourth prototype crashed. After a thorough financial and political review of Osprey, the final decision was made that 300 (later 360), Osprey aircraft would only be purchased for the US Marine Corps.
This batch received production authorization in 1994, with 48 Ospreys being used by the US Navy and 50 by the US Air Force. Three V-22s were lost during testing in 2000, which cast further doubt on the program. However, this most important future combat aircraft achieved initial operational capability with the US Marine Corps in 2001-2002. In 2003, pre-production deliveries were made to the US Navy and Air Force. The Osprey was finally adopted by the US Air Force and Navy in 2003. Full-scale production started in 2007. In 2007, the Osprey was officially adopted. Its full-scale production began in 2007. The Osprey has been a complement to the US forces helicopter fleet since its inception.
Japan was the first export customer for this tiltrotor transport. In 2015, a contract was signed for 17 Ospreys. These machines were also requested by India, Israel and South Korea.
The Osprey is faster, more agile, and has a higher lift capacity than conventional helicopters. It can also operate from ships and rough frontline airfields. It can carry 9 000kg internally and 6 800kg externally. The US Marine Corps operates the MV-22A, which can accommodate up to 24 soldiers or 12 litters of medical attendants. You can transport a variety of troops, weapons and vehicles on the Osprey. The Osprey will soon be able to refuel other aircraft and helicopters from the air.
The machine can be equipped with either 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine guns or a 7.62mm minigun on the ramp. It also had a gun turret system, which was integrated into its belly. However, it was only of limited utility. For future upgrades, a Gatling gun is planned under the nose. Also there are plans to equip the V-22 with of air-to-ground missiles like Hellfire or Griffin on its wing hardpoints.
The engines are mounted in wingtip-nacelles and can be turned through 97.5deg. They also drive prop-rotors with three-bladed blades via interconnected shafts. The nacelles can be swiveled and switched between aircraft and helicopter modes in just 12 seconds. The main planes pivot in the center to rotate along the fuselage top. The prop-rotor blades fold in parallel.
The V-22 Ospreys were deployed in various operations, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq. This tiltrotor transport was also used in humanitarian missions in Haiti, Nepal, and other countries.
The Osprey’s price is approximately $72 Million.