MV-22B Osprey (US Marine Corps)
PARIS — The V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor is set to see 100 export orders over the next nine years, the program manager predicted at the Paris Air Show on Monday.
US Col. Greg Masiello said that more than three potential customers are “at paperwork stage.”
“I could see a scenario of 100 export sales over nine years,” he added.
Among the three potential customers for the Bell-Boeing Osprey are Israel and probably the United Arab Emirates. “In one year we will have multiple countries named,” as possible customers,” he said.
In a presentation, Masiello listed a series of countries he said were discussing sales, had been briefed on the program or who were discussing “cooperative agreements” with the US, the latter including the landing of Ospreys on vessels.
The UK, France, Canada, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Italy, Colombia, Brazil, Israel, India, Japan and Singapore were on the list.
Last week, Ospreys in the Pacific made demonstration landings on the Japanese naval vessels Shimokita and Hyuga, with an Osprey folding its wings and descending on the elevator of the latter vessel.
France had discussed clearance for the V-22 to land on its Mistral vessels and Italy had held talks about the aircraft landing on its Cavour carrier, Masiello said.
The V-22, whose unit price averages US $70 million and costs around $10,000 an hour to fly, secured a $6.5 billion, 99 aircraft order on June 12 from the US. The second, multi-year order for the aircraft includes 92 MV-22s for the Marine Corps and seven CV-22s for the US Air Force. There are 214 V-22s in service and 40 are due to be delivered in 2013.
The Pentagon aims to order 48 for the Navy, and test landings have been made on the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, Masiello said.
The third of 12 aircraft was delivered this month to the Marine Corps’ White House support group, albeit not to fly the president himself. Masiello said the US fleet has seen a 28 percent increase in readiness and a 19 percent decrease in maintenance costs since 2010.
This year, he added, an Osprey flew from New Mexico to stage a demonstration rescue mission from a submarine in the Pacific. ■
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