The US Navy (USN) has conducted the first landing and refuelling of a Bell Boeing CMV-22B Osprey aboard an aircraft carrier.
The work took place on 22 November aboard the USS Carl Vinson, according to a video on the USN’s Youtube channel.
The footage shows the aircraft aboard the ship’s deck and taking on fuel. The tiltrotor is also tied down to the deck with chains. Subsequently, the CMV-22B makes a rolling take-off.
The CMV-22B is replacing the Northrop C-2 Greyhound in support of the carrier onboard delivery (COD) mission.
COD involves transporting supplies and personnel to and from aircraft carriers at sea. An essential requirement for the CMV-22B is the ability to carry a spare Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, used to power the Lockheed Martin F-35C.
One advantage of the Osprey over the Greyhound is that it can also perform vertical replenishment with other ships in the fleet, whereas the Greyhound, based on the same airframe as the E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and control system aircraft, can only operate from carriers using catapults and arresting gear.
The CMV-22B can carry up to 2,720kg (6,000lb) of cargo. It differs from the US Marine Corps (USMC) variant, the MV-22B, in that it has two additional 227 litre (60gal) and redesigned forward sponson tanks. The additional fuel capacity allows the tiltrotor to fly about 34% further than its USMC compatriot, up to 1,150nm (2,130km).
Initial operational capability for the CMV-22B is expected in 2021, when it will be deployed. The navy’s programme of record for the aircraft is 48 examples, though it notes that it currently aims to buy only 44 aircraft.