V-22 Multi Year Imminent, But Won’t Speed CV-22 Delivery:

The Bell-Boeing industry team and the Navy’s V-22 program office are on the verge of signing a multiyear procurement agreement for acquisition of 167 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from Fiscal 2008 to Fiscal 2012, including 26 CV-22s for Air Force Special Operations Command. Speaking to reporters March 18 in Washington, D.C., Marine Corps Col. Matt Mulhern, V-22 program director with Naval Air Systems Command, confirmed that his office was “on the verge” of signing the deal. “The 27th is the date we’re targeting,” Mulhern said, adding that there are still some work share issues to be resolved. In addition to the 26 airframes for AFSOC, the Marines would receive 141 MV-22s under the arrangement, which will save about $400 million over five years compared to annual procurement contracts for the same number of aircraft, he said. The multiyear will also provide a tremendous amount of stability to Osprey suppliers and will solidify the Marine Corps’ transition from the CH-46, and AFSOC’s move from the MH-53, he noted. Starting in Fiscal 2009, the V-22 production line will ramp up to around 36 airframes per year, five or six of which will be CV variants. Despite the new contract, there is no change in AFSOC’s current delivery schedule for its CV-22s, Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Jennifer Cassidy told the Daily Report March 20. Air Force and US Special Operations Command officials have been making the case to Congress for accelerated delivery of AFSOC’s 50 planned CV-22s, which, under current schedules will not all be in the fleet until 2017. Bell-Boeing officials said the new multiyear follows the existing production schedule in the current program of record from the V-22 program office. “As currently scheduled, with this [multiyear], the CV-22 program will complete the existing program of record for 50 aircraft in 2017,” said Bell-Boeing spokesman Bob Leder.