The first aerial refueling ever of a tilt-rotor aircraft is soon to take place after the in September published dry-run over the skies of northern Texas. Star of the show will be, of course, the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey transport aircraft.
For those who are new to this type of aviation: a tilt-rotor aircraft flies like a fixed-wing aircraft but can land like a helicopter by turning its propeller engines from vertical to horizontal mode while still in the air. For take-off the procedure is reversed.
Adding the in-flight refueling capability to the V-22 would be of great joy of the US Navy and US Marines, who regularly use their standard aircraft for so-called buddy refueling. Having the Osprey doing the work will make its usage in combat or other operations more versatile.
The V-22 that demonstrated the capability of safely deploying the refueling drogue, by simulating the operations with a F/A-18C and F/A-18D behind it. Safety first, so next time the test guys might actually hook the basket up to the retractable refueling probe of the Hornets.
A spokesperson of the Bell Boeing project writes at September 5, 2013: ,,Future Bell Boeing tests will put aircraft in a fuel-receiving position directly behind the V-22, connect receiver aircraft with the refueling drogue and, ultimately, refuel a variety of aircraft in flight. The V-22 is a combat-proven tilt-rotor that can fly horizontally at high speeds and high altitudes like an airplane, and take off and land vertically like a helicopter.”
We can’t wait to see the action.
Source: Bell Boeing