Bell [TXT] and Boeing’s [BA] V-22 Osprey has surpassed half-a-million flight hours, the companies said Monday, as the partnership moves ahead with a new readiness upgrade program for the aircraft.
Company officials said the tiltrotor aircraft met the 500,000-hour flight mark with 375 Ospreys, spread across the Marine Corps’ MV-22s and Air Force’s CV-22s.
“The V-22 provides unmatched capability for the U.S. Marines and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command,” Col. Matthew Kelly, the Marine Corps’ V-22 joint program manager, said in a statement. “The platform’s influence on our nation’s defense is seen through its extensive operational and humanitarian impact across the globe.”
Bell and Boeing are currently working through the Common Configuration Readiness and Modernization program (CC-RAM) to upgrade existing Marine Corps V-22s to a common Block Configuration.
Lt. Gen Steven Rudder, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for aviation, has said previously that CC-RAM is intended to extend the V-22’s service life by potentially 10 to 15 years while reaching a longstanding goal to improve the aircraft’s overall readiness.
In August, Boeing opened a new $115 million facility outside of Philadelphia that will serve as the main hub for CC-RAM work, as well as housing fuselage production for new V-22s for the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force as well as current international partner Japan (Defense Daily, Aug. 1).
Boeing has already received five Block B V-22’s that will undergo upgrades, with the Marines’ goal to have up to 16 of the tilt-rotor aircraft go through the complete CC-RAM program over the next couple years.
“V-22 is one of the highest demand platforms in the Department of Defense. This [flight hours] achievement is a great testament to the Marines and Air Commandos operating this platform in all environments,” Chris Gehler, Bell’s vice president for V-22, said in a statement. “We are committed to providing unparalleled support to our partners by steadily improving Osprey readiness and capabilities now and in the future.”