U.S. May Sell 100 Ospreys Abroad: Official

Osprey's land aboard Japanese ships during Dawn Blitz 2013

PARIS — The U.S. military over the next decade may sell as many as 100 of the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to international customers, the program manager said.

The military is already in discussions with “more than three” countries interested in buying the aircraft, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, Marine Corps Col. Greg Masiello, who manages the V-22 program, said on June 17 during a press conference with reporters at the Paris Air Show.

“I see no reason why there wouldn’t be … 100 aircraft over top of the program of record,” he said.

Masiello was referring to quantities in addition to the U.S. military’s planned purchase of 458 Ospreys. That includes 360 for the Marine Corps, 50 for the Air Force and 48 for the Navy, he said. There are 214 currently operating in the U.S. fleet, including in countries such as Afghanistan, he said.

The Navy on June 22 awarded a joint venture of Textron Inc.’s Bell Helicopter and Boeing Co. a $6.5 billion contract for as many as 122 Ospreys. That includes 92 for the Marines and seven for the Air Force, with options for an additional 23 aircraft. The agreement was expected to intensify interest among foreign buyers, who would be needed to keep the production line open beyond 2018.

Based on the level of interest from other countries, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Some 15 countries are interested in buying or conducting training exercises with the aircraft, including Israel, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya, India, Singapore, Australia, Japan, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Columbia and Canada, according to a briefing at the show.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in April in Tel Aviv announced the first foreign sale of the Osprey, for the Israeli special forces. The number of aircraft wasn’t specified but it was believed to be at least five for $70 million apiece. The funding would likely come from the more than $3 billion the U.S. gives Israel annually in military assistance.

The speed and range of the V-22 puts it in a class of its own, Masiello said. It can fly more than 800 nautical miles, about the distance between Washington, D.C., and Detroit, in less than four hours, he said.

In Afghanistan in 2010, more than 30 coalition troops were trapped after their CH-47 Chinook crashed from enemy fire, Masiello said. Two Ospreys from Kandahar were dispatched to rescue the personnel, flying hundreds of miles in bad weather as high as 15,000 feet over mountaintops, he said.

“You could not do that with any other aircraft,” he said.

The Osprey doesn’t have a flawless safety record. More than 30 Marines and civilian contractors were killed in crashes during development of the aircraft. Some lawmakers and Defense Department officials sought unsuccessfully to cancel the program.

“It’s not the same aircraft” as it was then, Masiello said, when asked whether its past performance is affecting negotiations with potential buyers. The plane has been redesigned to incorporate redundant hydraulic systems and self-sealing fuel cells, he said.

The Osprey since 2010 has flown more missions, on average, at lower cost, Masiello said. The cost per flying hour in 2012 was less than $10,000, he said. The program is now at “peak production,” with the contractor set to build and deliver 40 aircraft this year, he said.

The Navy’s order for additional Ospreys is a “vote of confidence and it certainly won’t hurt” the potential for more international sales, Chris Raymond, vice president of business development and strategy for Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security unit, said in a June 16 briefing with reporters at the company’s Paris offices before the start of the air show.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Nicky

    How much dose anyone want to bet the first Osprey overseas sales will go to either Japan or Israel

  • oblatt1

    “I see no reason why there wouldn’t be … 100 aircraft over top of the program of record,” he said.

    Well apart front eh fact the aircraft is rubbish and only exists because of congressmen paid off by Boeing.

    Maybe we can give away a few to Israel for children’s playgrounds and such and perhaps a few Arab states can buy some influence on the foreign relations committee by buying a few. But anyone who actually wants a transport aircraft isn’t going to buy this way overpriced dodo.

  • hibeam

    The regular Osprey or the limited edition Obama Model? Takes off like a helicopter, apologizes and goes home.

    • Big-Dean

      and if the Obama model crashes it blames Bush ;-P

  • Andy

    The funding would likely come from the more than $3 billion the U.S. gives Israel annually in military assistance.


    • Belesari

      We give far more to the UN which calls us murderers then gives awards to mass murderers and dictators.

      • gea

        We should not be giving $$ to either. Israel is able to offer a free college education to its youth. We are supporting a lifestyle we can’t offer our own youth. The UN is mostly just a gang of bandits cashing in on tax free dip status to wreak havoc in NYC while escaping from third world cess pools and petro dollar fueled slave farms.

    • ANDY

      TEL AVIV — Despite sequestration and protracted fiscal constraints, Israel can expect an additional decade of sustained and possibly increased levels of security assistance once its current $30 billion, 10-year military aid package expires in 2018, former US officials here said.
      The current agreement, signed in 2007, elevated Israel’s annual grant aid from $2.4 billion to $3.1 billion, and Israeli officials here expect the follow-on package to provide incremental boosts to nearly $4 billion per year.

  • Ben

    Don’t count the possible V-22s for Israel. Those aren’t sales. Just the American taxpayer paying for them. No sale.

  • hibeam

    The Osprey will be sold to foreign governments under its other name. The twin rotor Edsel.

    • tiger

      Rather than hibeam, your a dim bulb.

  • OD375

    Sell the aircraft to our enemies. It will work well as a trojan horse.

  • OD375

    I will be surprised and disappointed if Israel buys this aircraft.

  • C-Low

    It has high potential as a naval version.

    -Naval cargo making a light version of the greyhound on the big decks.
    -Strap ASES tower on top and you got a light AWACS or light version of the E2D on the big decks. AWAC aircraft are critical for air control and future cruise missile and ASM defense.

    Osprey with minor changes give all those pocket carriers I mean LHA/LHD jump ramp flattops a light version of the advantages only enjoyed by the big deck super carriers.

    The nations that will be foaming at the mouth for these are all the ones in the news building those small flattops. Japan, Britian, Italy, S Korea, Australia, Brazil, to just name the bigger boys in the game.

  • JE McKellar

    Need to market an AWACS version for all the small carriers out there, maybe an ASW/ASuW patrol version, too.

  • hibeam

    Japan should wait for the Osprey LX. Takes off like a helicopter, flies like a plane, dives into the ocean like a torpedo, rumbles across open terrain like a tank. Think of the savings.

  • Stephen Russell

    any plans for civie models IE commuter airlines to use.
    & or Air Cargo alone.
    Or VIP exec model.

    $$$$$$ alone.

    • Noth

      It’s called the Agusta Westland AW609 and is in development (formerly a Bell project that they sold to them to concentrate on third generation military tilt rotor craft).

    • Frank

      There already is a civilian version caleed the BA609. The BA609 is a joint venture between Bell Helicopter and Agusta Westland of Italy.

  • Tri-ring

    JSDF had already placed in a requisition within the future procurement list.
    Now it just a matter of getting the budget for acquisition.
    I believe Japan will order about 25~40 air frames and 25 airborne refueling tank kits.

  • TJRedneck

    Yes the Osprey has had a lot of problems during developement because it is a radically different design, but with the bugs worked out I believe it will turn out to be a great aircraft. Back in the 80’s when I was in the Marine Corps, we flew in those Sea Knights. They were slow eggbeaters, rough ride, and easy target for the enemy. The Osprey can hold a lot more cargo and get in and out of Dodge a lot faster. I remember when the Harrier first came out as well as the F-14 Tomcat. There were a lot of accidents and problems with those aircraft, lot of people died during their developement. Many people called for those to be canceled, but once the problems were worked out, they turned out to be great aircraft. I believe the Osprey will as well.

    • Harry

      not only the phrog, harrier and Tomcat, but look at the CH-53E, when it was a new aircraft had a bad accident/incident rate, as do most aircraft when they are cutting their teeth.

  • top dog

    I thought this thing was suppose to be so high-tech, if it is, why are we selling it?…Mabe the Countries we are selling it to had a vested interest in it’s creation….I’am just saying….

  • rudyh60

    Unloading an archaic rotor system machine…..one way to get some bucks back……move on the the Dornier Do31 and US VJ101 thruster driven concept And Do It right!…..and modern!!

  • poptop

    As always, all the bugs worked out mostly by USMC, now they can buy.

  • Marine101

    Probably selling to Obama’s muslim buddies.

  • Thomas

    Today’s Japan is finally realizing they just can’t buy what they want, and worry about sustainment later.

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