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Modern Day Marine 2024: NAVAIR plans V-22 improvements to keep tiltrotor flying through 2050

The MV-22 (pictured) is to soon receive new engine nacelles to be followed by a refreshed cockpit. Longer-term modifications may include a new drivetrain and perhaps even new wings. (US Navy)

The V-22 is likely to fly through 2050, and upgrades are in the planning process to allow it to reach that age, US Marine Corps (USMC) Colonel Brian Taylor, V-22 programme manager at Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), said at the Modern Day Marine 2024 conference in Washington, DC on 30 April.

In the near term, NAVAIR is working to centralise the V-22 fleet in a common configuration and improve maintainability.

โ€œWhen you purchase aircraft over about a 30-year span, you end up with some configuration challenges, and that's what we're still working through,โ€ Col Taylor said. โ€œYou're going to see things like block modifications: how do we get the aircraft to be closer to one another across this wide expanse of airframes that we bought and the different blocks they were in?โ€

The changes entail modifying older MV-22s to a standard akin to Air Force Special Operations Command's CV-22 Block 20 upgrades and include replacing older mission computers with newer ones. These mission computers are also to be updated more frequently.

โ€œAs of right now, a software build takes about four years to get out the door, mainly because of the testing and validation that has to be done,โ€ Col Taylor said. The service's plan is to push out new software builds every 18โ€“24 months, with two more in the works at any given time, Col Taylor said.

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