The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded a $74 million contract to the Bell Boeing V-22 Program, a strategic alliance between Boeing and Bell Helicopter – Textron, for seven Osprey ground-based trainers, which will reduce fuel usage and aircraft wear-and-tear, maximizing lifecycle cost savings.
The Sept. 25 contract award for Containerized Flight Training Devices also includes the option for the Marines to add one additional unit.
“Our trainers prepare war fighters for any task that might be performed in the aircraft while keeping crews and aircraft safely on the ground,” said Mark McGraw, Boeing vice president for Training Systems and Government Services. “This positions the Bell Boeing team as the sole, experienced provider for future international sales, as well.”
The CFTD is used to train aircrews on basic aircraft familiarization and handling qualities, day and night flying (including use of night vision goggles), formation flying, aerial refueling and landing on ships. All CFTDs can be locally networked to one another and to other aircraft trainers to allow for more robust simulations.
Bell Boeing has delivered, or is on contract to deliver, a total of 28 Osprey flight trainers. This includes the current CFTDs, earlier MV-22 trainers and those delivered to the U.S. Air Force.
The first two of the newly contracted trainers will be delivered to Marine Helicopter Squadron One at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., in May 2014 to support presidential transport activities. Other deliveries will follow in Hawaii, California and New Jersey starting in January 2015.
More than 145 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft are in operation today, including Marine Corps MV-22s deployed in Afghanistan and Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22s used in ongoing Special Operations missions.