Ospreys Skip Farnborough Air Show

The MV-22 Osprey, a frequent performer at airshows to showcase the tilt-rotor aircraft, will be skipping a chance to impress potential buyers next week at the Farnborough International Airshow outside London.

The Ospreys, made by Textron Inc.’s Bell Helicopter and Boeing Co., skipped the Paris Air Show last year in a cost-saving move by the Pentagon during the battles with Congress over the sequester budget process.

However, Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Schmidle, the deputy commandant for aviation, and Col. Greg Masiello, then the program manager for the Osprey, were on hand at Le Bourget airfield outside Paris to talk up the aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like a fixed-wing aircraft.

At Farnborough, neither the Ospreys nor the industry or military teams from the Naval Air Systems Command who support them will be present to promote the Osprey, said a spokeswoman for NavAir.

In 2012, the Osprey performed at the biannual Farnborough airshow and at similar airshows in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign sales could serve as a key to keeping the Osprey production line open past the current phase out date in 2018.

The aircraft’s history had been a drawback to potential foreign buyers. More than 30 Marines and contractors were killed in Osprey crashes during development, but the Marine Corps and the manufacturers maintain that the aircraft has since proved its reliability by logging more than 200,000 flight hours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For nearly three years, Bell and the Marines have talked up the potential for foreign sales but no sales have been completed as of yet.

Currently, “we’re having open discussions with Israel, the UAE, Japan and others,” said Schenck of Bell Helicopter.

In April last year, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Tel Aviv announced that the first sale of an Osprey would go to Israel as part of a major arms package to shore Israel’s defenses. Financial arrangements have yet to be completed for the delivery of six Ospreys to the Israeli Special Forces, possibly in 2016.

Last December, potential foreign sales of Ospreys got a major boost when Japan announced a new “National Security Strategy” to give offensive capability to its “Self-Defense Forces.”

The strategy called for Japan to spend $240 billion over the next five years on new equipment for the military to include 17 MV-22 Ospreys, 28 F-35 fighters, three unarmed Global Hawk drones  and 52 amphibious troop carriers.

About the Author

Richard Sisk
Richard Sisk is a reporter for Military.com. He can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com.
  • tiger

    Biggest Airshow around & the F-35 is grounded & Osprey a no show? Can we fire Hagel now? Oh, that is right. Obama fires nobody….

    Sigh……

  • Lance

    Knowing the Ospreys safety record lucky one would crash at the airshow.

  • jan

    Airshows are just a thing of the past that are no longer needed and a waste of money and time. If a potential buyer is interested in an aircraft the company that sells it will be happy to arrange a meeting at the contractors home base. Simple.

    • True, there are so few manufacturers competing these days, it’s kind of ridiculous.

  • hibeam

    Can all the engineers flowing in from South America help us to get these military programs working correctly?

  • LPF

    If they copuld put some AEW capability into it, they could sell it for the new UK carriers, becuase right now they rely on Helicopter born AEW which is complete and utter rubbish.

  • oblatt22

    For an aircraft program that is basically pure marketing for 20 years to say the marketing is dropping out is to admit the end of the program.

    V-22 is one of the few programs where the lead designer resigned in disgust at what a disaster the aircraft was. We have had 20 years of potential sales that never close a deal and the only one we can get anybody to use them is to ram them down the throat of the Israelis for free – even then they plan to use them for training.

    Time to call this turkey done. Its been cooked to a cinder already.

  • Karl

    Boeing needs to take up the bill, if they want any foreign sales.

  • Dennis

    Are we really still arguing about the Osprey?
    Granted it is a maintinance pig and it’s flight envelop is a bit rickety.
    But it goes four times as far, twice as fast as a helicopter. End if argument. The military needs those capabilities.
    I just hope the next iteration of the technology is better.

  • Bernard

    Surprise surprise, the two biggest boondoggles in recent weapons contracting history are out of commission for an airshow. We might as well just strap white surrender flags to these things.

  • hibeam

    This thing would be great for inspecting the vast disease infested refugee camps that have sprung up all along our Southern Border in Texas. If Obama cared enough to go down there.

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  • Tophertag

    I’m with Dennis. I’m tired of hearing people pissing all over the Osprey. We’re damn lucky to have them and wish we could have 4 times as many. Just about every single aircraft in the US military has seen bad days. The F-14 crashed on her madden flight, yet became one of the best Interceptors for years. As far as the V-22’s limitations, like having no Autorotation, every single helicopter ever made has their drawbacks – It’s called the “Dead Mans Curve”. Stay outside the curve and the aircraft performs well. The Osprey is no exception. BTW: if the Osprey is so bad, why is Bell preparing to develop next gen-tiltrotor with the V-280 Valor?

  • Bob

    Obama wants a smaller military footprint overseas, but this is just sad.

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