Roll-On/Roll-Off Capability Key to V-22 Future
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The manufacturers of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft see future payloads installed in the aircraft’s cargo bay as critical to the expansion of the aircraft’s mission sets.
“The key to everything in the future is the roll-on/roll-off capability,” John Parker, Boeing’s senior manager for Global Sales and Marketing, Tiltrotor Programs, told reporters March 28.
The V-22 has the potential of provide aerial refueling and perform anti-submarine warfare, airborne early warning and gunship missions with different configurations, Parker said. A carrier-onboard delivery version, the CMV-22B, is in development to replace the Navy’s C-2A Greyhound aircraft.
The Marine Corps plans to add an aerial tanker capability to the MV-22B to support its F-35B Lightning II strike fighters onboard amphibious assault ships. The tanker also would be able to refuel other V-22s and CH-53 helicopters deployed in the ships.
Dry runs with a hose-and-reel assembly streaming from the cargo bay were conducted in September 2013.
In May 2016, the Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office was awarded a $58.8 million contract to develop the roll-on/roll-off V-22 Aerial Refueling System (VARS). The V-22 initially will be able to pass 4,000 pounds of fuel to an F-35. The planned capacity will increase to 10,000 pounds with added tankage.
“We’re funded and proceeding with development of that,” Parker said, noting that the VARS can be installed “in a couple of hours.”
Parker also said that weapons trials with the MV-22B have been ongoing, including with guided 2.75-inch rockets, the AGM-176 Griffin missile and two other weapons he was not free to discuss. He said that “everything is an option” to give the MV-22 the capability counter enemy fire in a landing zone, given that the Osprey is too fast for helicopter gunship escort. He said there also the option of turning the Osprey into a “small AC-130-type gunship.”