THE BELL BOEING V-22 design has been frozen following completion of its critical design review (CDR). Programme director Stuart Dodge says that completion of the CDR and the Pentagon's endorsement of Osprey production clears the way to begin low-rate initial production (LRIP) and initial entry into service of the V-22 with the US Marine Corps in 2001.

Bell and Boeing are manufacturing major components for the four "production-representative" Ospreys being built with engineering and manufacturing development funding. The first will be flown in December 1996.

The Pentagon plans to buy 523 V-22s, with the USMC receiving 425 MV-22s to replace the Boeing Helicopters CH-46, the US Navy gaining 48 HV-22s and the US Air Force buying 50 CV-22s for special-operations missions.

About $50 million, in long-lead funding for 16 LRIP V-22s will be requested this month, by the Pentagon. Full-scale production will begin the following fiscal year, at a rate of about 24 V-22s annually through to FY2021. Production of the first four CV-22s will begin in FY2001.

Source: Flight International