Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft have deployed from Hurlburt Field, Fla., on their first overseas stint, the Daily Report has confirmed. An undisclosed number of CV-22s and airmen are now outside of the US to participate in Operation Flintlock, a US Africa Command-sponsored multinational counter-terror exercise that starts on Monday and runs through Nov. 20 in Africa’s Trans-Saharan region. Mali is hosting the exercise, which includes events such as joint medical and veterinary visits to rural communities, but activities will also take place in other places like Senegal, according to an AFRICOM release Oct. 28. Don Arias, an AFSOC spokesman, told the Daily Report yesterday that CV-22s flew to their destination—as opposed to being air transported. Flintlock, he said, is a “key exercise” to enhance the ability of African nations to patrol their sovereign territory. The venue will allow AFSOC to demonstrate the speed, range and unique capabilities of the CV-22, he said. Army Gen. William Ward, commander of US Africa Command, said earlier this month the CV-22s would be taking part in Flintlock.
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.