Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce will continue to provide support for the Pentagon’s fleets of V-22 Osprey aircraft under a two-year agreement, the company announced.
The $287 million agreement is contracted through the Navy, but covers all engines for Ospreys being used by both the Marines and Air Force. The contract is a follow-up to a five-year contract Rolls has been operating under for support of its AE 1107C engines used on the tilt-rotor aircraft.
Tom Hartmann, Rolls senior VP for customer business, told reporters Tuesday that the follow-on contract “just shows the confidence the customer continues to have” in the system.
Hartmann highlighted company figures that show a 30 percent cost drop in support costs, the result of what Hartmann called a “significant” increase of time on wing for the engines, driven by increases in both software and hardware. And more hardware improvements could be coming as Rolls recently tested a major upgrade for the AE 1107C, which boosts power an estimated 17 percent.
As to why the new contract is only two years versus the previous five-year agreement, Hartmann said it was driven by available funding and noted that both agreements are structured as a series of one-year contracts with government options for the follow-on years.
Designed by Bell Boeing, the V-22 is a tilt-rotor, multimission transport aircraft capable of moving 24 combat troops, 20,000 pounds of internal cargo or up to 15,000 pounds of external cargo. It is used primarily by the US Marines, which has a standing requirement for 360 MV-22 units. US Air Force Special Forces currently operate 32 of the CV-22 variant.
While the US is the only nation to operate the aircraft, that could change shortly. Israel was reportedly close to an agreement, but political strains between the administrations of US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are now threatening that deal.
Meanwhile, Japan last week officially selected the V-22 for its tilt-rotor requirement. That requirement has been set at 17 aircraft under a Japanese defense strategy released this year.
While Hartmann declined to get into details on pricing or timelines, he did say the company was “absolutely delighted, and [is] ready to fully support their aspirations to field the V-22.”
Source : http://www.defensenews.com/