Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey

The V-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that both takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter and also flies like a plane by tilting its wing-mounted rotors to function as propellers. Combining a helicopter's operational flexibility with the greater speed, range, and efficiency of fixed-wing aircraft, the V-22 can perform such missions as troop/cargo transport, amphibious assault, special operations, and search and rescue.

The V-22 is based on the XV-15 tilt-rotor prototype which was developed by Bell Helicopter and first flown in 1977. The Department of Defense began the V-22 program in 1981, first under Army leadership, but with the Navy/Marine Corps later taking the lead in developing what was then known as the JVX (joint-service vertical take-off/landing experimental aircraft). Full-scale development of the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft began in 1986 with first flight in 1989.

The early years of the V-22 Osprey were quite difficult with many problems delaying completion of development. The V-22 Osprey was finally accepted and entered field service with the Marine Corps (2007) and the US Air Force (2009). By 2013, 214 Ospreys were deployed and another 99 were ordered.

An MV-22 Osprey landing aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R 06) in the Atlantic Ocean, 10 July 2007
An MV-22 Osprey landing aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R 06) in the Atlantic Ocean, 10 July 2007.

Today in WW II: 17 May 1940 Brussels falls to German forces; Belgian government flees to Ostend, Belgium.  More 
17 May 1943 US Army contracts with University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering to develop ENIAC computer.
17 May 1943 8th Air Force B-17F Flying Fortress named Memphis Belle becomes the first plane to complete a 25-mission tour of duty.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

V-22 Osprey for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps

V-22 Osprey, classed as a rapid, medium-range tactical lift asset, is an integral part of both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps warfighting concept as well as a key platform for Air Force Special Operations Command. Model variants include:

  • USMC MV-22 version can transport 24 fully-equipped troops hundreds of miles at speeds exceeding the performance of the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters the MV-22 will replace. Variants MV-22A, MV-22B.
  • Navy HV-22 version will replace HH-3 helicopters used for Search and Rescue.
  • USAF CV-22 version will be used for Special Operations.

The motivation for the V-22 aircraft is rooted in the need for long range, rapid deployments that are characteristic of Special Operations. Though some studies have shown helicopters such as the MH-53 Pave Low variant of the CH-53 Super Stallion to be more payload efficient for a radius of action up to 200 nautical miles, SOF missions have more often required a far deeper penetration capability, the forte of the V-22 Osprey.

While the U.S. Army has participated in testing the V-22 Osprey, there were no plans for Army procurement of a V-22 variant for Army use.

The V-22 aircraft is produced by Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing Helicopters, with engines produced by Rolls-Royce/Allison. Flight testing and operational evaluation of pre-production V-22s began in early 1997, with procurement of production aircraft approved in April 1997.

V-22 Osprey Specifications and Performance

Length 57 ft. 4 in.
Height (helicopter mode) 21 ft. 8 in.
Width (rotors turning 83 ft. 8 in.
Weight 60,500 max
Armament None
Engine Two Rolls-Royce Liberty 6,830 shp AE1107C
Maximum speed 316 mph (sea level)
Cruising speed 287 mph
Range Amphibious Assault Mission 593 mi.
Max. Self Deploy Range 2,417 mi.
Service ceiling 24,700 ft.

USMC MV-22 Osprey loading Marines from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, MCAS New River, Jacksonville, NC, 1 December 1999
USMC MV-22 Osprey loading Marines from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, MCAS New River, Jacksonville, NC, 1 December 1999.

Stern view of the U.S. Navy Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) underway with eight USMC MV-22 Osprey aircraft ready for takeoff, part of testing conducted by Marine Tiltrotor Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 (VMX-22), MCAS New River, NC, 18 June 2005
Stern view of the U.S. Navy Wasp Class Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) underway with eight USMC MV-22 Osprey aircraft ready for takeoff, part of testing conducted by Marine Tiltrotor Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 (VMX-22), MCAS New River, NC, 18 June 2005.

USMC MV-22B Osprey from VMX-22, taking off from the flightdeck of an amphibious assault ship, 15 Nov 2005
USMC MV-22B Osprey from VMX-22, taking off from the flightdeck of an amphibious assault ship, 15 Nov 2005.

V-22 Osprey on the access ramp at NAS Patuxent River, MD, 15 May 1995
V-22 Osprey on the access ramp at NAS Patuxent River, MD, 15 May 1995.

V-22A Osprey, with folded rotors, rotating its wings 90 into the shipboard stowage position, USS Wasp (LHD-1), 5 Dec 1990
V-22A Osprey, with folded rotors, rotating its wings 90 into the shipboard stowage position, USS Wasp (LHD-1), 5 Dec 1990.