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US Navy establishes first CMV-22B squadron

24 December 2018
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Rendering of the CMV-22B tiltrotor being developed by Bell-Boeing to replace the C-2A Greyhound. Source: US Navy

The US Navy (USN) has begun the transition from the C-2A Greyhound carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft to a modified variant of the Bell-Boeing MV-22 tiltrotor with the commissioning of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron 30 (VRM 30) as its first CMV-22B squadron.

The USN in 2015 selected the CMV-22B tiltrotor to meet its Airborne Resupply/Logistics for Seabasing (AR/LSB) requirement, eschewing the alternative option of a life extension for the legacy C-2A Greyhound COD aircraft. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded the Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office a USD151 million contract in March 2016 for nonrecurring engineering associated with CMV-22B development/engineering change proposal (ECP) embodiment.

According to the navy, the CMV-22B acquisition approach is based on the re-use of a mature platform - in the shape of the MV-22B Block C aircraft - adapted with ECP modification to integrate a series of navy-specific subsystems/requirements: the ECP will add extended range capability with aft/forward external conformal fuel tanks on wings and sponsons, a public address system for use while transporting passengers, fuel jettison capability, cargo bay and loading ramp lighting, and secure beyond-line-of-sight communications with a high frequency (HF) radio.

The main driver for the CMV-22B is to transport the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine - the powerplant for the US Marines Corps' (USMC's) F-35B and the USN's F-35C variants - direct from shore bases to carrier decks. Being able to put the F135 power module inside the tiltrotor is significant because the capability to transport the load internally extends range out to 1,000 n miles. In addition, the CMV-22B will enable direct delivery to amphibious ships as well as carriers.

VRM 30 was formally established on 14 December in a ceremony at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego, California. The first CMV-22B aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to the squadron in fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020).

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