First CV-22 Block 10 Handed Over to US Air Force

Released on Tuesday, March 21, 2006
United States of America
CV-22B Osprey
HV-22A Osprey
MV-22B Osprey
AFSOC - Air Force Special Operations Command
A new chapter in Air Force aviation opened March 20 as the first operational CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft arrived here. The aircraft was flown from the test wing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, by Lt. Gen. Michael W. Wooley, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, to the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland. The 58th provides advanced training to special operations pilots and aircrews.

The CV-22 Osprey is a special operations variant of the MV-22, currently used by the Marines. The aircraft has the unique ability to takeoff, land and hover like a helicopter, and it can tilt its propellers to fly like a conventional, prop-driven aircraft.

This dual capability gives the CV-22 extended range, speed and versatility over any other AFSOC aircraft. The extended range and speed will allow the Air Force to conduct long-range infiltration and exfiltration missions. The CV-22 and MV-22 are very similar, with differences existing mainly in the avionics needed for special operations missions.

The 58th SOW is scheduled to receive four CV-22s by the end of June. The first operational CV-22 unit will operate out of Hurlburt Field, Florida, starting in 2007.

The initial pilot training includes 400 hours of interactive computer-based training, 60 simulator hours and 40 flying hours in the MV-22 version of the Osprey. This will be followed by CV-22 mission-specific training for AFSOC pilots and flight engineers at Kirtland.

Through the use of live-fire testing, the Osprey has proven to be four to eight times less vulnerable to enemy fire than current aircraft. It is 75 percent quieter, can fly higher and has one-tenth the infrared signature compared to most rotary aircraft.

The CV-22 currently costs $89.1 million. However, cost reduction initiatives and a multi-year procurement contract is expected to significantly reduce that price. The Air Force plans on buying 50 CV-22s from now until 2017.


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