The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft – in service with amongst other the US Special Forces, Presidential Flight and US Marines – is evolving to become a forward killer. Bell Helicopter has demonstrated the new forward-firing capability last month at the United States Army Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona, the company announced last weekend.
Footage: Bell Helicopter
Since its deployment in 2007, the V-22 has been deployment to Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. The Osprey offers operators a wide range of mission capability including raids, medevac, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, resupply, VIP transport, and theater security cooperation.
About a year ago regular CV-22 Ospreys had to abort a mission in South Sudan, when the tilt-rotor aircraft came under fire during an attempt to extract Americans from the area. The new weapons capability might increase the Ospreys mission survivability and increase its operational envelope in the near future.
Through the end of the third quarter of 2014, Bell Boeing has delivered 242 MV-22 tiltrotor for the Marine Corps and 44 CV-22 for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). On 11 December the fleet passed the 250,000 flight hour milestone. Bell Helicopter began initial design work on forward fire capability in mid-2013, before the incident in South Sudan.
Source: Bell Helicopter with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger