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SNA 2016: UK France Italy and Spain Said to be Interested in Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
 
A number of European countries have shown interest in the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, Navy Recognition has learned during the Surface Navy Association's (SNA) National Symposium held last week near Washington DC. Among them are the UK, France, Italy and Spain.
A number of European countries have shown interest in the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, Navy Recognition has learned during the Surface Navy Association's (SNA) National Symposium held last week near Washington DC. Among them are the UK, France, Italy and Spain.
 
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SNA 2016 Show News - V-22 Osprey
 
 
 
SNA 2016: UK France Italy and Spain Said to be Interested in Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey
 
By Xavier Vavasseur
A number of European countries have shown interest in the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, Navy Recognition has learned during the Surface Navy Association's (SNA) National Symposium held last week near Washington DC. Among them are the UK, France, Italy and Spain.
     
A number of European countries have shown interest in the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, Navy Recognition has learned during the Surface Navy Association's (SNA) National Symposium held last week near Washington DC. Among them are the UK, France, Italy and Spain. Artist impression showing a US Navy V-22 in a COD mission. Image: Bell
     
"We will brief a number of European countries on the V-22 in February. If international partners orders can be added to the US order as part of Multi Year 3, it could drive the V-22 price down" said John R. Parker, Senior Manager, Tiltrotor Global Sales & Marketing at Boeing. Navy Recognition understands that the idea is that if these European countries can pool their orders with the USMC and US Navy upcoming orders, there is a good chance that the tiltrotor aircraft would become affordable to them.

"In the case of the UK and France, the interest is coming from the Navy"
according to Parker. The Royal Navy and Marine Nationale are likely looking for an aircraft to conduct Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) missions. The UK Navy is set to commissions two new aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) in 2017 and HMS Prince of Wales (R09) in 2020. The French Navy operates one nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, but doesn't have COD aircraft. Back in June 2011 two US Navy C-2A(R) Greyhounds from VRC-40 conducted COD missions for the French aircraft carrier operating in the Mediterranean Sea during the NATO intervention in Libya.

Contacted by Navy Recognition, a public affairs officer from Naval Air Systems Command (managing the V-22 program) said in an email: "There is an upcoming trip to Europe for Government to Government discussions. However, at this point, there are no details which can be released."

As we reported during Sea Air Space 2015, the US Navy is set to procure 48 Ospreys for Sea Based Logistics (including COD), Personnel recovery (including SAR) and Special warfare (with US Navy Seals) missions. The US Navy is studying options to increase the range of the legacy V-22. The likely solution will be to increase the size of the external sponsons to fit more fuel inside. This would be the only physical difference with legacy V-22. The official Navy designation has yet to be selected.
     
USMC V-22 Osprey during qualification trials on board French Navy Dixumde LHD (Mistral Class) in July 2015. V-22 are now fully qualified for operational missions to and from the Mistral class.
Picture: F. de Feydeau / French NavyMV-22 Osprey aboard Italian Navy aircraft carrier Cavour. Picture: mregazzoliMV-22 Osprey aboard Royal Navy LPH HMS Ocean. Picture: Royal NavyMV-22 Osprey aboard Spanish Navy LHD Juan Carlos I. Picture: Spanish Navy
     
USMC MV-22 Osprey have crossed deck on several occasions with European navies flat tops as can be seen in the above pictures. As we reported last year, the French Navy went a step further by conducting a thorough qualification campaign over two years to make USMC MV-22s fully interoperable with the Mistral class LHD. Ospreys are now fully qualified for operational missions to and from the Mistral class.

Ospreys however can not fit in the hangar of the Mistral class (let alone on the elevator). It is the same for HMS Ocean and the Cavour pictured above. It does fit inside the Spanish Navy Juan Carlos I however as recently demonstrated. It is very likely however that the fit inside the hangar bay of Queen Elizabeth class carriers and of the Charles de Gaulle. In the case of the French aircraft carrier we should soon find out: The French Navy Naval Aviation Practical Experimentation Center (CEPA) already announced last year that V-22 will be tested onboard the CVN following the successful tests with the Mistral class LHDs.

Last but not least, Navy Recognition learned that there will likely be a V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft on the static display at both Farnborough airshow in July in the UK and Euronaval defense show in Paris in October.