A number of countries have shown interest in the V-22 Osprey, including the UK, France, Italy and Spain according to the manufacturers.
The V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission, tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing and short takeoff and landing capability, designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.
John R. Parker, Senior Manager, Tiltrotor Global Sales & Marketing at Boeing said:
“In the case of the UK and France, the interest is coming from the Navy.”
The V-22 first flew in 1989 and began flight testing and design alterations; the complexity and difficulties of being the first tiltrotor intended for military service in the world led to many years of development.
The United States Marine Corps began crew training for the Osprey in 2000, and fielded it in 2007; it replaced their CH-46 Sea Knights. The US Air Force fielded their version of the tiltrotor in 2009.
Since entering service with the US Marine Corps and Air Force, the Osprey has been deployed in transportation and medevac operations over Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Kuwait. Israel has also decided to purchase six of the aircraft.
This type of story isn’t new, last decade an independent British/US study jointly assessed the potential for the V-22 to meet current and future UK vertical airlift requirements.
The requirements for this study were based on the Royal Navy’s ‘Future Amphibious Support Helicopter’ programme, this was filled by the Merlin helicopter.