Boeing and Bell Textron have delivered the first modified MV-22 Osprey to the United States Marine Corps for improved readiness and reliability of the tiltrotor fleet.

The US Marines have multiple configurations of the MV-22 aircraft in service. Under the Common Configuration – Readiness and Modernisation (CC-RAM) program, Bell Boeing is reducing the number of configurations by upgrading block ‘B’ aircraft to the current block ‘C’ configuration.

“Our first CC-RAM aircraft returning to Marine Corps Air Station New River was a key program benchmark,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Matthew Kelly, programme manager, V-22 Joint Program Office.

“We are excited to see the capability, commonality and readiness improvements these CC-RAM aircraft bring to the fleet as part of the Marine Corps’ V-22 readiness program.”

As a block ‘B’ configuration, this MV-22 was originally delivered to the fleet in 2005. In 2018, the aircraft flew from Marine Corps Air Station New River to the Boeing Philadelphia facility for modernisation.

“This milestone marks the beginning of an Osprey evolution,” said Kristin Houston, vice president, Boeing Tiltrotor Programs and director, Bell Boeing V-22 Programme, in a release.

“Through a shared focus on safety and quality, the Bell Boeing team is delivering modernized MV-22 aircraft that are ready to serve our dedicated servicemen and women who rely on this essential aviation resource.”

The next CC-RAM delivery is expected in early 2020.

“We look forward to having the remaining MV-22 block “B” aircraft rejoin the fleet in a block “C” configuration,” said Kelly.

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Daniele Mandelli

We might not own any, but do we have an agreement with the USAF to use theirs if needed?

I would say yes.

Steve Taylor

The production was so mixed up that each airframe is practically a sub-type in its own right. They look ace and if we could have viable ones for our carriers it would be great.
But no they are nightmare. You could buy 2 CH-47’s for the cost one MV-22. Or even better 3 or so Merlin.

Daniele Mandelli

I’m not on about the RN or the carriers Steve.

I’m talking about UKSF and their use in the UK in a CT role.


Weren’t the sas flying around london in one of these things a while back.

Daniele Mandelli

They were flying around London yes.

But USAF examples. And who was in them is speculation.

The SAS was reported as training with USAF examples, where’s the mail said the UK had bought them.

Which brings me to my initial post.

I’ve found some interesting infrastructure in the UK.


I often stay with friends, who live near the Malvern Hills. The Osprey is apparently a semi-frequent flyer going up the valley.

Steve Taylor

Um. I just said I would have some for the carriers.

Daniele Mandelli

Sorry Steve. You’re quite right. I would too!

Steve Taylor

But only if they were a stable type, which they are not. They are a bit of mess hence these mods.

What I would really prefer is a ship friendy version of CH47 with folding rotors. A CH47 with compound wings for Crowsnest would be good. Luckily I think they will be operating under US AEW cover anywhere really sticky.


They have the same accident rate as rotary wing, it is improving every year.


Gosh, I hadn’t realised they had been in service that long !


I think it would be a grand idea for the U.S. and the UK to collaborate on a AEW version of the Osprey for both the USN’s “Lightning Carrier” concept and for the RN’s QEs. It would be a major step forward to allow both classes (2 actually in USN service) to truly operate independently.


Levi Goldsteinberg

It would cost a bloody fortune and there’d need to be quite a few of them given the Osprey’s extremely questionable reliability but yes ultimately that would be a fantastic addition to the QE airwing. Perhaps they could also take on a tanker role as well


Back in 2017, the USMC Osprey fleet had a dismal 48% availability rate. That was what the Block C upgrades were meant to address. I think most of the problems were in the areas of the transmission systems and engine rotation mechanisms. Supposedly, this upgrade is going to really improve that situation.



USMC are pushing for the V247 Vigilant tilt-rotor UAV as their organic AEW aircraft. One of the reasons is that for one V22 you can operate two V247s due to the smaller footprint. This is the aircraft the RN should be seriously considering to replace the Crowsnest equipped Merlin.
I do think our carriers require a tanker aircraft and the V22 is probably the best option off the shelf.


The Vigilant will be much more capable aircraft than the (especially) early Ospreys. The footprint will be much better for packing more as well, but it can’t carry large items such as an F35 engine. It’s why the USN picked the Osprey for its next COD aircraft (at the cost of the range of the C2). Perhaps the Vigilant will be a better choice for AEW than the V22 if it’s a dedicated aircraft. If the requirement will be expected to fulfill a multimission role with “plug and play” AEW, tanker, transport for instance, an upgraded Osprey might be better… Read more »


Yes I did suggest the Vigilant a while back as a likely better fit for the RN assuming they have learned from the Osprey developmental problems. I think it would be a better all round (hopefully) reliable, cheaper and flexible platform for the RN even if it doesn’t fulfil the top end so well as Osprey. As for carrying the F135 it can only manage it if broken down into its various modules or on a special rail system if the engine is removed from its transport container or alternatively carried on a sling with a range around 290 miles.… Read more »


The Osprey can load a complete F135 engine via a special trolley, see the below link.

The vertical lift fan gearbox that fits to the front of the engine is a separate component and is delivered in a separate box.


Correct, the V247 was originally designed as a close air support UAV for the marines on the beach-head. Also one of the requirements was for the aircraft to be able to be housed and operated from an Arleigh Burke destroyer. The V247 follows in the V22s footsteps by having a folding wing and rotors, it can also be aerial refuelled. The USN and USMC realised that the Navy’s E2D Hawkeye may not always be available to support the beach-head or amphibious fleet, thus requiring an organic aircraft that can operate from their LHA/LHDs. They originally tried using the Osprey with… Read more »


It seems to me to be inevitable that these will spend a lot of time on the QE Class. The carriers almost seem to be as much a part of the USN as the RN in terms how how much cooperation there is. There are also hints that the USN likes the QE concept. Whilst the RN may not buy Ospreys it will get use out of them.


Is the USMC AAR kit fully funded, entered development and now a matter of when it gets into service rather than if it gets that far? If yes then if we do get any US V-22s embarked on the QECs I would love to see some of those AAR kits along for the ride as well.


Exactly I think they will be available to the RN in one way or another during deployment and I think far better to let the US Marines/Navy deal with their use (with all the implications) than taking on the whole cost and complexity of their deployment ourselves.

Steve Taylor

There is a reason why the QE’s hangar roof is so high. And the USN have (or will) alter their deployment cycles of the escorts to help cover QE’s on deployment. Considering the shortage of SSN’s and escorts the USN will face in a few years time you would think they would have preferred us to build more of those platforms. In some circles if you discuss certain capabilities you are told we don’t need them because we are on the US’s side. But you would think the one thing they have more than enough of is large flattops! I… Read more »


Hangar deckhead is so high in order to house exceptionall tall officers 🙂


Ah. Recall tho the QE’s where a child of an EU carrier force in the 90’s (Blair and the French – says it all really). So not to do with the USN. Personally I think this has caused all sorts of issues and distorted RN force structure. We should have stuck to escorts, subs and smaller escort carriers ( as previously) as our main fleet units.


The CMV-22B Osprey Carrier On-board Delivery (COD) aircraft is about to be delivered to the USN early January to replace the Greyhound. This aircraft differs slightly from the normal version in that they have bigger sponsons around the landing gear. This is to hold more fuel and thus extending its range. There are some pictures of the aircraft being loaded with a F135 engine, it’s a really tight fit. Once the engine is inside it fills the cabin, so no-one can get past it. Everyone must remember the V22 was a replacement for the Sea Knight (baby Wokka). Both the… Read more »


Yeah see what you mean.

From what that says the Sea Stallion can only manage it slung underneath with a 50mile range, the V22 internally around 1000 miles. Cant see any mention of Chinook.


The cabin of the King Stallion is 30 ft (9.14 m) long by 9 ft (2.74 m) wide by 6.5 ft (1.98 m) tall. Whilst the V22’s cabin is 24 ft 4″ (7.41m) long by 5ft 11″ (1.80m) wide by 6ft (1.83m) high. So, yes the CH53K can fit the F35s engine internally. They have chosen not to use it due to the relatively slow speed and much shorter range compared to the Osprey.
By comparison the Chinook’s cabin is 30,5ft (9.3m) long by 7.5ft (2.29m) wide by 6.5ft (1.98m) high.


I Would still never fly in one of these death traps.


The ‘can it carry an F35 engine argument seems a bit spurious to me. Yes its a nice to have option, but if the easiest option is the best then just have a couple of them on the carrier. If they break two engines without losing an airframe then send one on an RFA until its in Chinook or Merlin underslung load range. Not ideal but surely a safer and less complex (and probably cheaper) option than buying a specific airframe on the grounds that its the only one which can fulfil such a niche role?

Andy P

As others have said, they’re a great idea, its a pity the reliability is so poor, maybe downstream we could get the ‘D’ or ‘E’ version when all the gremlins have been sorted. It would give more capability to the aircraft carriers potentially in a variety of roles. Probably a bit of a reach for us at the moment to bring in a known ‘problem’ aircraft, at least financially but one to keep an eye on.