Paul Derby

A potentially lucrative export market for the Bell Boeing V-22 tiltrotor is fast emerging, with foreign interest at an all-time high, military chiefs said at the show yesterday.

Lt Gen Fred McCorkle, deputy chief of staff for aviation with the US Marine Corps (USMC), says that provided costs remain on track, the aircraft has a bright future outside the USA.

"Judging by the level of enquiries at this stage, the V-22 is interesting a heck of a lot of people," he says. "There's no doubt that it's going to change the way we do business."

Bell Boeing says the unit cost for the V-22 will be roughly $40 million.

As the domestic development programme continues, the number of opportunities overseas is escalating.

The UK in particular has two requirements: the Future Amphibious Support Helicopter (FASH) and the Future Organic Airborne Early Warning (FOAEW) aircraft.

The FASH programme is to replace Westland Sea King helicopters operated by the Royal Navy on behalf of the Royal Marines.


FOAEW on the other hand, is a requirement to replace the Royal Navy's carrier-based AEW Sea Kings.

The USMC has taken delivery of the first production MV-22B combat assault/support version of the V-22. It needs 360 MV-22Bs long term with an initial of four aircraft being delivered this year. Seven more MV-22Bs will be delivered in 2000 and a further eight a year later. Long lead funding for the fourth production lot of aircraft was released in March.

The US Navy requires 48 HV-22Bs, for combat search and rescue, special warfare and logistics support, while the USAF has ordered 50 CV-22Bs, the special operations variant.

Bell Boeing is also looking to future tiltrotor applications by launching a study into a Quad TiltRotor (QTR). Could the aircraft would have a vertical take-off gross weight double that of the V-22 at more than 45,500kg (100,000lb).

Bell Boeing also says it is talking to a number of advanced technologies companies as it studies the QTR concept but that work is very much at the research and development stage.

Source: Flight Daily News