It only took 21 years, but the Bell Boeing team finally delivered its 400th production aircraft, a long-distance, tilt-rotor CV-22, to the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command. The production line delivered the first V-22 on May 24, 1999 and it has steadily manufactured quality aircraft as part of a multiple-year procurement contract valued at $5 billion. The contract extends through 2024 and serves the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force, and the Navy along with an international customer (Japan). The V-22 combines the agility of a helicopter with the long-distance flight capability of a turboprop aircraft. The CV-22 is a variant developed for special operations typically beyond the capabilities of conventional aircraft, including infiltration, extraction, and resupply. The MV-22 is a Marines variant while the CMV-22B is the Navy variant.
“I want to thank everyone who has made the V-22 successful for their hard work and dedication to the women and men who operate the Osprey,” said Shane Openshaw, vice-president of Tiltrotor Programs and deputy director of the Bell Boeing team. “We’re focused on building and supporting these incredible aircraft so our customers can complete their air, land and sea missions worldwide.” Marine Corps Col. Matthew Kelly, program manager for the V-22 Joint Program Office, commented: “It’s been over 20 years since the first production V-22 was delivered and we are proud to reach another milestone in our 400th delivery. V-22s continue to be in high demand, protecting our country and our allies around the world through combat operations, international training partnerships and humanitarian missions. This platform’s impact can’t be overstated.”