“Sunhawks” of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 50, the Navy’s first CMV-22B Osprey Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), celebrated a landmark achievement as they received their Safe-for-Flight certification on Dec. 16, 2021. Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing Commodore, Capt. Samuel Bryant presented VRM- 50 with their safe for flight certification during a cake-cutting ceremony onboard Naval Air Station North Island. The achievement has been a long time coming for the new squadron. The CMV-22B Osprey is the Navy variant of the V-22 Osprey, a multi-engine, dual-piloted, self-deployable, vertical takeoff and landing tilt-rotor aircraft. The aircraft will replace the C-2A Greyhound, which the Navy has used to conduct carrier onboard delivery (COD) operations for more than half a century.
“In October 2020, when VRM 50 was established, there were eight of us in a shack on the flight line. “Now, we’ve stood up a new training building and are a fully-functional squadron flying brand new aircraft in just 12 months. It’s incredible, and a testament to all the hard work the men and women at this squadron have put in, along with the support of the VRM community,” said VRM 50’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Eric Ponsart.
“When you look at the capabilities of the [Greyhound], this platform brings more capability to that mission by extending the range and being able to use the vertical lift instead of relying on a tailhook. This allows us to operate in more diverse environments and gives us more options as a community,” VRM 50’s executive officer, Cmdr. Emily Stellpflug, the first female Navy CMV-22B executive officer said.
Standing up a brand new squadron brought many challenges, but also gave opportunities for members of VRM-50 to set the groundwork for a successful squadron in every aspect – from the culture of the people to the flight operations. Since their first flight on Sept. 21, 2021, the “Sunhawks” have logged 25 flights and over 81 hours of flight time to achieve their safe-for-flight certification. FRS’s are the last stop for new aircrewmen and pilots before they report to an operational squadron. During their time at VRM-50, they will complete an advanced, integrated training curriculum and become fully qualified in CMV-22B operations. With the safe-for-flight certification complete, the “Sunhawks” are authorized to start training students. The “Sunhawks” are slated to get their first class of aircrewmen and pilots in May of 2022.
CMV-22B Osprey will provide the Navy with significant increases in capability and operational flexibility over the C-2A. CMV-22B operations can be either shore-based, “expeditionary”, or sea-based. The Osprey is a critical warfighting enabler, providing the time-sensitive combat logistics needed to support combat operations. As compared to the MV-22B, the Navy variant has an extended operational range, a beyond-line-of-sight HF radio, improved fuel dump capability, a public address system for passengers, and an improved lighting system for cargo loading. The CMV-22B will be capable of transporting up to 6,000 pounds of cargo/personnel to a 1,150 NM range. The CMV-22B is expected to field with Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2021 (projected). While the Program of Record has 48 CMV-22 projected, the Navy currently plans to procure only 44 aircraft.