The US Navy has begun development on its own variant of the V-22 Osprey that will have an increased range of more than 1,000 miles and a top speed of 280 mph, Scout Warrior reports.
The new CMV-22B Osprey variant is set to fully replace the C-2 Greyhound as the Navy’s primary transport aircraft for forward-stationed warships by 2021.
The Osprey provides far greater flexibility than the C-2 due to its tilt-rotor design, meaning it can both take off and land vertically but still maintain airplane level speeds of more than 220 mph. Whereas the C-2, which has been in service since the 1960’s, requires a traditional catapult to lift off from carriers.
Bell-Boeing, the company contracted to develop the new Osprey, is investigating a number of methods of increasing the aircraft’s range, primarily an increased fuel supply, Navy spokesman Ensign Marc Rockwellpate told Scout Warrior.
In addition to its primary function as a supply transport, the Navy’s Osprey will be able to fill a slew of other roles, including that of a tanker aircraft capable of performing aerial refueling missions, and offensive roles such as a troop and weapons transportation in a combat radius of more than 450 miles.
Bell-Boeing is still investigating other capabilities for the aircraft, including its armament, Rockwellpate said.
While the Marine Corps is already developing its MV-22B Osprey to be fitted with rockets and other weapons systems, offensive armament is less necessary for the Navy’s variant due to its transport role.
According to Rockwellpate, in order to decrease the risk of operating from forward bases in high threat environments, which the Navy’s Osprey will occasionally be required to do, the CMV-22B will keep the MV-22B’s flares, chaff, and missile warning system.
The first default V-22 Ospreys are set to arrive to the Navy in 2018.