The CV-22 Osprey is a unique combination of helicopter (rotary) and airplane (fixed wing) aircraft and is an Air Force modified version of the MV-22 used by the U.S. Marine Corps. Not surprisingly, design and development of the CV-22 required a combination of resources from Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., and Boeing Company, Defense and Space Group, Helicopter Division.
In September 2000, the Air Force received two CV-22 Ospreys for testing purposes. In 2006, aircrew training began in New Mexico at Kirtland AFB using the first two production model CV-22 Ospreys. On November 16, 2006, the Air Force Special Operations Command‘s 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida took delivery of the first operational CV-22 Osprey. By 2017, the Air Force expects to receive a total of 50 CV-22 Ospreys.
The CV-22 Osprey is dedicated to supporting missions performed by special operations forces. These missions can require long-range extraction, deployment, and resupplies of equipment and personnel, all of which the CV-22 Osprey can perform well. Helicopters can hover and move slowly, but their range and speed are limited. A fixed wing aircraft can have long range, and move quickly, but it cannot remain in one place, climb vertically, or fly too slowly. The CV-22 Osprey combines the best features of both types of aircraft with its ability to climb vertically or hover, then forward tilt its engines and propellers (the nacelles) to fly like an airplane. Because the CV-22 Osprey can operate as either a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft, this eliminates the need to have both types on station.
To enable the CV-22 Osprey to fly at low altitude in difficult weather and in hostile territory, the aircraft’s onboard avionics include forward-looking infrared radar, terrain-following radar, and other integrated threat countermeasures.
Maximum speed: 277 mph
Cruise speed: 240 knots in the MV-22, 230 knots in the CV-22
Range: 2,100 nautical miles
Length: 57′ 4″
Wingspan: 84′ 7″
Height: 22′ 1″
Maximum Vertical Takeoff Weight: 52,870 pounds
Maximum Rolling Takeoff Weight: 60,500 pounds
Engine(s): Two Rolls Royce-Allison AE1107C turboshaft engines
Rotary Diameter: 38″
Crew: Four, including the pilot, copilot and two flight engineers
Payload: Choice of 24 seated troops, 32 floor loaded troops, or 10,000 pounds of cargo