The Navy has received its first CMV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft for fleet operations, manufacturer Bell Textron announced on Wednesday.
The new Osprey, which will perform carrier onboard delivery missions for the service, is based at Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California.
A variant of the Marine Corps MV-22 and Air Force CV-22 Ospreys, the CMV-22B is intended to replace the Navy's aging C-2A Greyhound fleet as the service's "long-range/medium-lift element of the intra-theater aerial logistics capability," according to a Naval Air Systems Command fact sheet.
“We are thrilled to bring the Osprey’s capabilities as a warfighting enabler and its ability to provide time-sensitive logistics to the men and women deployed around the world in support of U.S. Navy operations,” Bell V-22 vice president and Bell Boeing program director Kurt Fuller said in a statement.
Bell had previously delivered a CMV-22B aircraft to the Navy at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in February for developmental testing, followed by a second aircraft in May, the company said.
According to Bell, the CMV-22B and C-2A "conducted a symbolic passing of the torch flight" between the two deliveries in April.
The service subsequently awarded a $4.2 billion contract to deliver a first batch of 39 CMV-22Bs to Boeing and Bell in mid-2018.
The CMV-22B "will provide the Navy with significant increases in capability and operational flexibility over the C-2A," according to the NAVAIR fact sheet. "The Osprey is a critical warfighting enabler, providing the time sensitive combat logistics needed to support combat operations."
VRM-30 is scheduled for its first operational detachment deployment on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in 2021, according to the Navy.
According to USNI News, the deployment is expected to coincide with the first operational deployment of the Navy’s F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter.
“The CMV-22B will be a game-changing enabler to the high end fight supporting the sustainment of combat lethality to the carrier strike group,” Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing commodore Capt. Dewon Chaney said in a statement.
“The multi-mission capabilities of the CMV-22B, already recognized, will be realized in Naval Aviation's Air Wing of the future. The arrival of this aircraft is the first of many steps to that becoming reality.”