One. A very simple number, but those who don’t respect the small things, won’t appreciate the big things. And when it comes to an order for only one CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for the US Air Force, we think it is kind of a big thing as we are talking about a 76.1 million US dollar modification of the standing Osprey order contract.
The CV-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft that takes off, lands and hovers as a helicopter, but can fly like a propeller airplane. Its USAF mission is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.
The first two test aircraft were delivered to Edwards Air Force Base in California in September 2000. The 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, began CV-22 aircrew training with the first two production aircraft in August 2006. The first operational CV-22 was delivered to Air Force Special Operations Command’s 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field in Florida in January 2007. Initial operational capability was achieved in 2009. The 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico received its first CV-22 in May 2010. The 352nd Special Operations Group, RAF Mildenhall, received its first CV-22 in June 2013. A total of 49 CV-22 aircraft were already scheduled to be delivered by 2016. The order of 7 March 2014 puts that on 50 aircraft.
In December 2013 the USAF operated 33 Ospreys, all flying with main active units. The aircraft’s cruise speed is 241 knots (446 kmh), it can fly up to 25,000 feet and accommodate 24 (seated) to 32 (sitting on the floor) combat troops or fly 10,000 lbs (4540 kg). Because of its complexity the CV-22 is operated by a crew of four (pilot, copilot and two flight engineers). It can be armed with a single .50 calibre machine gun on the ramp.
Despite the fact the Osprey is relatively new, the first aircraft of the type that was mainly used for flight tests already landed at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, on 12 December 2013. The newly ordered machine is compensation for the decommissioned one.
Source: US DoD / USAF