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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Potential FMS Buyers Named; NAVAIR Confirms V-22 Multi-Year (2013-17)

By Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief

During the American Helicopter Society (AHS International) meeting held in Phoenix in May, U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Col. Greg Masiello, V-22 Joint Program Office (PMA 275) manager, based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., had restated the V-22 program of record. USMC still requires 360 MV-22s, U.S. Air Force SOCOM 51 CV-22s, and the U.S. Navy 48 V-22s (although there is still no budget to purchase this requirement). The Bell-Boeing OEMs believe that the tiltrotor would be a good aircraft to replace the U.S. Navy’s aging Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) C2 Greyhounds which are at the end of their service life. He said that the Osprey fleet continues to exceed its reliability goals and that around 18 maintenance hours are required for every flight hour.

At the time, Col. Masiello had expected the next multi-year to be for 100 Ospreys, with the Marines being docked one aircraft in the new figure of 99.

In a break with tradition, he actually named the countries that were showing the greatest interest in acquiring a V-22 fleet, although he did not say at what point, if any, negotiations were at: United Arab Emirates – 10; Israel – 6; Qatar – 12; Canada 12-15; Japan 6-10; and Brazil 10. Inquiries had also been received from the United Kingdom, Columbia, Libya, Italy, India, Singapore and Australia. Masiello said that the V-22 was expected to participate in the Dubai Air Show in November this year, together with the Singapore Air Show in February 2014.

More recently in June, the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) continued its procurement of V-22 Ospreys by confirming the next tranche of multi-year aircraft from joint manufacturers Bell-Boeing. The $6.5-billion, five-year contract covers 99 Osprey tiltrotors (92 for the USMC and seven CV-22s for the US Air Force Special Operations Command). There is provision for another 23 V-22s built in. The multi-year contract has been designed to guarantee industry set numbers of aircraft within a timescale, thereby allowing them fiscally plan better. This should result in around $1 billion of savings against single year delivery contracts. The first multi-year contract was awarded by NAVAIR in 2008 for 141 MV-22s and 26 CV-22s. It was worth $10.4 billion.

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