The Bell Boeing V-22 team recently delivered its 400th aircraft, a CV-22 for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command.

The first production V-22 was delivered on May the 24th, 1999, and today deliveries occur for the U.S. Marines, Air Force, and Navy, as well as the first international customer, Japan.

“I want to thank everyone who has made the V-22 successful for their hard work and dedication to the women and men who operate the Osprey,” said Shane Openshaw, vice president of Tiltrotor Programs and deputy director of the Bell Boeing team, in a press release.

“We’re focused on building and supporting these incredible aircraft so our customers can complete their air, land and sea missions worldwide.”

The V-22 is well known because it takes off, hovers, and lands like a helicopter yet flies long distances like a turboprop aircraft.

“The CV-22 variant performs special operations missions, including infiltration, extraction, and resupply, that conventional aircraft can’t. The Marine Corps variant, the MV-22B, provides the safe and reliable transportation of personnel, supplies, and equipment for combat assault, assault support, and fleet logistics. The Navy variant, the CMV-22B, is the replacement for the C-2A Greyhound for the carrier onboard delivery mission.”

The V-22 has accumulated more than 500,000 flight hours.

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Has any consideration been given (and forgetting budgetary constraints for a moment) to a number of CMV-22Bs being purchased for “COD” to support the Queen Elizabeth class carriers? I see the small number of fleet support and supply ships available to the RFA being of concern during intense “away” operations. Could reliance upon treaty partners potentially snooker us when in a difficult situation?


400 Ospreys delivered to US forces! Please can we have just a couple for the QECs, for COD and other duties? No – we can’t afford them. Another striking figure this week was 100 P-8A Poseidons now delivered to the US Navy. And the RAF get nine. A friend of mine was a very senior RAF officer who worked in the Pentagon for a number of years. He was telling me the sheer size of the US military is “staggering, unbelievable”. Politically, Defense is huge over there and generally well supported by its citizens. We in the UK can only… Read more »


Sorry, didn’t see this till now. Honestly, I don’t care to make any value comparisons between the UK and U.S. militaries – it’s genuinely a case of Apples and Oranges. Our respective militaries are generally sized for their responsibilities (I will say the UK’s is a bit undersized especially in light of the new missions being undertaken by the pols). The RN’s ships, the RAF’s aircraft, and the Army’s weapons systems all tend to be undergunned (fitted for but not installed is the mantra) and could certainly use an upgrade but still, in the top 5 militaries on the planet… Read more »


Thank you, Hellions, for your nicely considered response. Of course, every country can only size their military to what they can afford and, like every country, the UK has many other important areas on which to spend taxpayer’s money. After the Conservatives were elected late last year PM Boris Johnson pledged a ‘far reaching review’ of UK’s defence posture, with particular emphasis on technology and space. There was no detail on how it would be funded (too early, at that time) but, of course, COVID-19 has changed all that. Unprecedented billions have (rightly) been spent on supporting UK industry and… Read more »




Got to hand it to the Brits – we have some great village names! One of my favourites is Six Mile Bottom, near Newmarket, but there are thousands more. Got a connection to HB?


Heheh, if you can stand the genealogy lesson! My family came across as military retainers of the De Vere family during The Conquest and remained so until the 1600s. When the grisly clobbering, chopping, skewering, and vicious insulting (“your Mother was a HAMSTER”) was done they were rewarded with stewardship over that area and they set up shop just over the hills in Castle Camps (where Mosquito aircraft were built during the war). The old hall was listed in the Domesday Book and it’s still there (I think it was a Grade II property even back then! :D). The De… Read more »


Great back-story, Helions. I’ve been doing my own family history for many years, going back to Devon in 1615 – but not as exotic as yours, I must confess! Much more mundane. Although, there was an American lady who once contacted me with a few questions, when she thought we had the same female ancestor. She said that our 3xGreat grandmother had married a Lord someone-or-other back in the 1800s. We were royalty! However, she made the classic mistake of researching my GGGrandmother’s married name, instead of her maiden name. All a bit complicated but shows you have to be… Read more »


A great story in itself CF!, I didn’t have to do any family research some social position conscious ancestor (so many were) did it all back in the 19th Century! Doesn’t matter how grand or humble the story is, it’s how we got here and that’s good enough! As to topic, here ya go!

You can still see the general outline of the airfield and some of the hangers are used for farm storage and such. Long ways away from its glory days though.



Are there any decent stats on line about UK military numbers vs the US. Our economy is 1 tenth the size of the US but out doubt our military is anywhere near that.

Glass Half Full

Japan has just taken delivery of their first V-22, 5x were ordered in 2015, reportedly at ~$330M, but the program seems to have had some delays/false starts regarding deliveries until now. Not sure you can forget the cost/budgetary constraints in any consideration. So if the USN CMV-22B COD variant is a similar cost for an export sale, then the UK might need to spend a similar but inflation adjusted number for 5x, in order to put 3x on a carrier, similar to the planned USN 3x carrier deployment. Not inexpensive for a COD-only role vs. carrying a spare engine or… Read more »


Wonder if a lease program similar to the RAF’s MRTT tankers could be worked out with Bell?



If the V22 is too pricey they could always look at the new V280 Valor as a refuelling aircraft.


I’ve often thought procuring a number of V-22s would be a good idea, whether outright, leasing or “hire-purchase” (!), given its seeming flexibility – if Crowsnest is palletised and can be fitted to any Merlin in the fleet, I can’t see why it couldn’t also be fitted to an Osprey (given testing of course), while we know of its use for COD, and that it could potentially be used for AAR, which would be a benefit for the Lightning.

Of course, there is the issue of the exclusive AirTanker contract for AAR, commented on by this website in 2018.

Glass Half Full

Well if we go down that path then we’d probably need at least 20 V-22s for a single carrier to cover all the roles (5x AEW + 5x tanker + 3x COD), plus training aircraft, spares and servicing etc. I’d be surprised if we could do it for less than $1.5B just for the aircraft. maybe if we start saving now we can get them by 2035 when the tanker contract is due for renewal ad potential renegotiation.