V-22 Upgrades: March 2021 Update

By Nick Adde

With the Osprey now well ensconced as an integral part of the inventory, work continues on current and future upgrades.

Earlier this year, NAVAIR awarded an $81 million contract to develop and install modified nacelle kits and conversion harnesses for the CV-22.

Situated at the end of each wing, nacelles provide housing for the plane’s key power and propulsion components. They also hold the wiring bundles that feed systems throughout the aircraft and serve the system that converts the Osprey from vertical to horizontal flight and back.

“Approximately 60 percent of maintenance man-hours are spent in the nacelles,” Air Force Col. Brian Clifford, CV-22 program manager, said in a NAVAIR press release.

Refinement of the nacelle design should reduce time spent getting repairs and improve readiness, Clifford said.

The work will take place at Bell’s Amarillo, Texas, facility. The Marine Corps and Navy also are considering the same upgrade.

A number of other major sustainment issues are currently on the table, Kelly said.

The older Marine aircraft are undergoing a common configuration, readiness and modernization program, which would bring systems on 2010 aircraft up to 2020 standards.

The roughly 60 modifications include new mission computers, a better weather radar and scratch-resistant wind screens, he said.

The handful of aircraft that have completed the process have demonstrated increases in readiness rates, as well as a decreased need for maintenance man-hours.

Plans also call for an improved helmet-mounted display for the MV-22, akin to those available on other newer aircraft.

“We’re looking to use it for the degraded visual environment during brown-out landings,” Kelly said. “That [display] is going to provide the pilot with a ground reference and information that will allow him to keep his situational awareness cueing, even when there is no outside visual.”

The featured photo: U.S. Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166, assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response – Central Command, conduct maintenance on an MV-22 Osprey in Kuwait, Sept 24, 2020. The SPMAGTF-CR-CC is a crisis response force, prepared to deploy a variety of capabilities across the region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew Skiver)

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