The BellBoeing V-22 is in full-swing production, but Boeing's people at least are already looking beyond the Osprey configuration. In an answer to my question, Phil Dunford, Boeing's president for the rotorcraft division, even coined the 'V-23' designation for this theoretically improved tiltrotor.
Click on the jump below for the full transcript [courtesy of Boeing's Paris Air Show podcasts] of Dunford's comments about the 'V-23'.
DUNFORD: Download alleviation on the V-22 is very important to us. If we want to improve the lift on the V-22 it would be really nice to get rid of that 10% download that the wing gives you.
[DUNFORD continues until Q&A begins]
TRIMBLE: This is Steve Trimble with Flight International.
DUNFORD: Hey, Steve.
TRIMBLE: I was wondering. You mentioned - I didn't catch it - something about a 10% download on the V-22. I didn't understand what you were talking about.
DUNFORD: Well if you think about it those rotors have to operate over a wing. It's similar on a Chinook to some degree. So what happens is if you had that rotor operating with nothing below it, basically clear air between it and the ground, you wouldn't be getting the ... download you would get with the rotorwash hitting the wing. So what we have to do is alleviate that somehow. One of the things you would like to do in a hover is tip the wing up a bit, but then you would be a tiltwing airplane. So there are things you can do with the airflow to actually minimize that. So we have actually flown some things on the XV-15 that look promising. I don't know the details of those but they are aerodynamic in nature. But anything we can do to increase the download and increase the hover performance of the V-22 is good because, remember, the V-22 is not a helicopter, and you shouldn't compare it. It's something better than a helicopter in my opinion because it optimizes the performance of the helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft. In order to do that, you have to optimize the rotor performance. There's a lot of twist in it and everything else. The answer to your question is it's just the wing effect with the rotorhead.
TRIMBLE: Is any of that included in a Block C or a Block B configuration.
DUNFORD: I don't think so. That's one of those technology developments that are further out. That might be what we do when we're V-22 -- let's say, call it 'V-23'. So I don't think you're going to see that in the marine airplane. That's something we have to deal with right now that was part of the configuration that we had to develop. And having said that, that's offset by its significant capability to STO off the ground. If you really want to get off at a higher gross weight and you have a couple of hundred feet you can certainly get off with a higher gross weight then with a vertical takeoff.