The development of the US Navy CMV-22B Osprey carrier onboard delivery plane has started. The joint Bell/Boeing project received its first 151 million dollars for redesigning the aircraft.
Forty-four CMV-22B vertical landing aircraft are set to start streaming into USN service between 2020 and 2024, replacing the traditional fixed-wing Grumman C-2 Greyhound. MV-22s are already very much in use with the US Marines, where they fly everything from cargo to soldiers between navy ships to land-based locations or into the battlefield.
Special Navy Osprey
Bell/Boeing deliver the aircraft at 86.8 million a piece. The extra 151 million dollars that have been allocated now will be used for incorporating an external fuel tank, adapted SATCOMs, a modified shipboard landing system and other stuff not incorporated on the Marine Ospreys.
Arming of the CMV-22Bs is not planned, but could be done in a later stage.
Bell Helicopter on Monday 28 March completed the delivery of the 15th Bell 407GXP to the Mexican Air Force (FAM). The contract was awarded in March 2015, and the Bell 407GXP fleet is currently supporting the FAM’s parapublic missions across the region.
As the primary aircraft operating branch of the Mexican Armed Forces, the FAM covers the entire country, with 18 military air bases located across Mexico. The FAM have been operating Bell helicopters since 1973 with the delivery of a Bell 206-B, and their fleet currently includes the Bell 412EP, 212 and 206. The 15 Bell 407GXPs are operated by the 111th Air Squadron based at the Military Airbase in Zapopan, Jalisco.
“The Bell 407GXP is truly a multi-mission capable platform that can perform various missions,” said Jay Ortiz, vice president of Latin American sales for Bell Helicopters. “We are honored by the Mexican Air Force’s trust in Bell Helicopter and our aircraft, and we are proud to have delivered the final Bell 407GXP to join their fleet.”
With more than 1,300 Bell 407 aircraft operating worldwide, there are more than 200 in parapublic configuration.
On 15 March, Bell Helicopter Textron has been awarded a USD 18.9 million for three UH-1H Huey II helicopters for the Lebanese government. This will be done via a foreign military sales (FMS) contract.
These 3 examples are part of an order for 18 UH-1H Huey II helicopters placed in 2014. The Lebanese Air Force already flies 6 Huey IIs since 2012. Delivery of the 3 helicopters is expected to be completed by 14 March 2017. Besides the Huey II the Lebanese Air Force also operates the older UH-1H type for more than 15 years now. The Huey IIs will replace these older airframes.
The UH-1 Huey (officially named Iroquois) flew first in 1959, and has been in service in large numbers with many air forces around the world, such as the German army (see our special report about the UH-1Ds here)
About 15,000 troops, including 2,000 of non-NATO member Sweden, 40 aircraft and helicopters, about a thousand vehicles and several ships and boats are currently kicking a** in Northern and Central Norway. Exercise Cold Response included the taking of the normally peaceful village of Namsos, situated on the shores of beautiful fjords.
The 7th edition of the multinational winter war exercise hosted by Norway brings units from mainly NATO countries together, to show what they can as “bad” and “good” force against each other. To train for a possible real war scenario and to show NATO’s current strange “friend” Russia that the North American-European alliance still can.
Croatia is on course to receive 16 former US OH-58D Kiowa recce and light attack helicopters, with first deliveries due later this year. Inspection of the helicopters took place last month in Fort Bragg (North Carolina) and Redstone Arsenal (Alabama). The US will donate the helos to Croatia, with a formal agreement to be signed soon.
Airheadsfly.com reported on the Croation Kiowas last year already. A Croatian team inspected the choppers and their documentation, plus examined and selected training simulators to be used for pilot training. Maintenance details and other conditions for operational use by the Croatian Armed Forces were also discussed with US experts, as well as transportation of the Kiowas to Croatia.
As many as 14 of 16 selected helicopters are still in operational use with the US Army and will be taken over in well-maintained condition. The helicopters were manufactured in the period 2012-2015 and each have between 100 and 600 flying hours.
The Kiowas are capable of carrying machine guns, Hellfire missiles, air-to-air Stinger (ATAS) missile and 2.75″ Folding Fin Aerial Rocket (FFAR). Also, the helicopters are fitted with passive protection for the crew and the vital parts of the helicopter, plus provisions for active counter-measures against threats.