The Bell Boeing joint venture has proposed to the US Department of Defense that it could save $9 billion over the life of the V-22 Osprey programme if it were allowed to accelerate production of the tilt-rotor aircraft.

At present, the joint venture will deliver 425 MV-22Bs to the US Marine Corps, 48 HV-22Bs to the US Navy, and 50 CV-22Bs to the US Air Force over the next 25 years at an average production rate of 21 aircraft a year.

In a letter to Paul Kaminski, the Pentagon's acquisition chief, the firms say that the project has reached a point where an early production increase and multi-year procurement "will influence the efficiency and long-term V-22 production cost."

They have told Kaminski that, based on multi-year contracting and a production rate of 36 aircraft a year for the USMC and 12 each for the USN and USAF, they would deploy all 523 V-22s within 14 years and save the Pentagon 25% of the V-22's estimated $36 billion cost.

Kaminski is not expected to respond to the offer until February 1997 when the Defence Acquisition Board is next due to review the V-22 project.

Source: Flight International