For the first time, an all-Navy crew flew an MV-22 Osprey, flying from Naval Station Norfolk, Va., to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in Jacksonville, N.C., last week.
The flight on July 12 involved two pilots and two air crewmen from Airborne Command and Control and Logistics Wing Medium Tilt Rotor Training Squadron Detachment (VMTT Det.) 204. Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, accompanied the crew on this first flight.
Kelley told the sailors of VMTT Det. 204 after the flight during an all-hands call that “You are all pioneers and as we move into a new platform and I think you all really have an opportunity to lay the keel for where this community is going to go," according to the Navy.
The Osprey is set to replace the fixed-wing C-2A Greyhound logistics aircraft to enhance the service’s logistics support mission. As it gets integrated to the fleet, the new aircraft will carry personnel, cargo, and mail between aircraft carriers and land-based supply centers.
Last month the Navy awarded Textron's [TXT] Bell division and Boeing [BA] a $4.2 billion contract modification to start building its first 39 CMV-22Bs for the service. The aircraft will be used to transport personnel and cargo to aircraft carriers. The transition is expected to last through 2026 (Defense Daily, July 2).
Bell and Boeing are working together in a Joint Project office to deliver the V-22 Ospreys.
Richard Keillor,chief aviation structural mechanic for safety equipment within VMTT Det. 204's Aviation Life Support Systems Division, said in a statement that his group learned the Osprey is easier to maintain with new technology and has both a greater lift capability and greater range when including its aerial refueling capability.
Keillor also highlighted the benefits of an aircraft that takes-off and lands vertically like a helicopter, eliminating the need for assisted take-offs or arrested landings.
Capt. Matthew Duffy, ACCLOGWING Deputy Commodore, said in a statement that the there are 70 Sailors, first generation pilots, air crewman, and maintenance technicians that are training to fly and operate the Osprey.
“Today was also a historic day because our flight with Rear Adm. Kelley was the first time that the entire flight crew for the Osprey was all Navy, both pilots, both crew chiefs for the first time in history. This was truly a special day for Naval aviation and another milestone in the Osprey program,” Duffy added.