The first CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, the special operations-modified version of the V-22 Osprey, was unveiled and rolled out today.
In a ceremony this morning at Bell Helicopter Textron's Fort Worth, Texas plant, soldiers, sailors and airmen of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) got their first look at the newest aircraft in the special operations inventory.
"The CV-22's advantage of reach, combined with its flexibility and timeliness of deployment translates for us into both greater potential for mission success as well as greater potential for lives saved through more efficient tactical execution," said Air Force LtGen. Norton Schwartz, deputy commander in chief, USSOCOM.
Schwartz joined Bell Helicopter Textron Chief Executive Officer Terry Stinson and Boeing Co. representative David Moorman at today's unveiling. The V-22 is jointly produced by Bell-Boeing Textron.
The CV-22 will add new capability and fills a longstanding special operations forces (SOF) requirement to conduct long range infiltration/exfiltration in periods of darkness or in adverse weather. The SOF version differs from the MV-22 (Marine Corps variant) because of the special avionics and communications equipment that have been added.
USSOCOM will procure 50 CV-22s at a projected cost of around $43 million each. They will replace aging fixed- and rotary- wing aircraft currently in use by both Army and Air Force special operations forces. All CV-22s will be operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), which will receive its first operational aircraft in 2004.