Air Force special operators at the 8th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla., will get a fourth initial operational test & evaluation CV-22 Osprey soon and will continue testing activities at Hurlburt and in New Mexico and eventually Alaska. Initially scheduled for this year, cold weather testing at Eielson AFB, Alaska, was delayed when the Marine Corps in February discovered a fleet-wide glitch in the flight control computer software. A microchip in the computer was not functioning as it was programmed during ground diagnostics, Boeing’s deputy V-22 program director, Gene Cunningham, told Air Force Magazine Wednesday, prompting the Marine Corps to temporarily ground the V-22 fleet, including USAF’s CV-22, and weed out the bad chip—a task that took a few weeks. As a result, AFSOC has pushed back its trip to Eielson until 2008, said Cunningham.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.