Bell Boeing CMV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor
Bell Boeing CMV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor

Bell Boeing CMV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor Completes First Flight

The first CMV-22B Osprey, built by Boeing and Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, completed first flight operations at Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center. The U.S. Navy plan to use the CMV-22B for carrier onboard delivery (COD) duties beginning in 2021. The CMV-22B is the latest variant of the tiltrotor fleet, joining the MV-22 and CV-22 used by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force. The U.S Navy ordered the first 39 CMV-22Bs in June 2018; initial operating capability is anticipated to be achieved in 2021, with fielding to the fleet by the mid-2020s. Bell Boeing will deliver the first CMV-22B to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 in early 2020 for developmental test.

Bell Boeing CMV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor
Bell Boeing CMV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor

The V-22 program originally included U.S. Navy 48 HV-22s, but none were ordered. In 2009, it was proposed that it replace the C-2A Greyhound turboprop for carrier onboard delivery (COD) duties, 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. One advantage of the V-22 is the ability to deliver supplies and people between non-carrier ships beyond helicopter range. In February 2016, the Navy officially designated it as the CMV-22B.

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Bell Boeing CMV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor
Bell Boeing CMV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor

Compared to its USMC MV-22B, the Navy CMV-22B has an extended-range fuel tank, which enables a longer range; an improved fuel dump capability; a beyond-line-of-sight high frequency radio; a public address system for passengers; and a better lighting system for cargo loading, according to the USN. The “CMV” designation is meant to best reflect the nature of the carrier onboard delivery mission. The C stands for cargo and means the plane is “designed to carry heavy cargo, passengers, and/or medical patients.” The M stands for multimission and “identifies aircraft specially configured to support special operations.” And the V signifies a vertical-takeoff or short-takeoff fixed-wing plane, such as the AV-8B.

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