V-22 Tiltrotor Is Doing Fine, Say Officials
Pentagon and Bell-Boeing officials have countered media reports that the V-22 Osprey has performed poorly in deployment. During a briefing at the recent Navy League Sea Air Space convention in Washington, D.C., they admitted to some serviceability problems, but insisted that the tiltrotor has met all its assigned operational tasks. Col Greg Masiello, the Pentagon's V-22 program manager, said, “there's been a lot of speculation [but] we are not babying the aircraft. They go exactly where needed.” U.S. Marine Corps squadron VMM261 is currently serving in Afghanistan, and the aircraft was also deployed in the Haiti earthquake relief effort. Masiello quoted a mission-capable rate of 69 percent across the entire fleet, which now numbers 105 aircraft. The target rate is 75 percent, rising to 82 percent by 2018, when the last aircraft is due to be delivered. Gene Cunningham, the V-22 vice president for Bell-Boeing, admitted to some “readiness challenges,” but said these are being addressed through design changes to some components, and increased provision of others. He said that the manufacturer looks forward to receiving a supply-chain management contract next December, this being the second stage of a performance-based logistics system. Masiello said that the Pentagon is “fully pursuing” a second multi-year procurement of V-22s starting in Fiscal Year 2013.