Procurement: July 10, 2003


The U.S. Marine Corps has gotten its V-22 Osprey aircraft development project back on track. After twenty years of development, costing $12 billion, the V-22 still has another year of testing to go before Congress has to vote on allowing the production of 458 V-22s, at a cost of $69 million each. Congress wants the per unit cost down to $58 million. That's still pretty steep for an aircraft that is replacing three decade old Marine helicopters. But the V-22 uses a tilt wing technology that allows the aircraft to land and take off like a helicopter, then fly like fixed wing aircraft, at more than twice the speed of a helicopter. In combat, speed is life, and the Osprey can carry heavier loads farther and faster than any helicopter. The War on Terror has given the V-22 project a new lease on life, after three accidents during earlier testing left 30 people dead, and three V-22 test aircraft destroyed. The Special Operations Command and the Navy are getting 98 of the 458 V-22s, and the aircraft are seen as an important tool in the fight against terrorists. 




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