The Navy hopes to hear back from Bell-Boeing on a proposal for a second multi-year contract for 122 V-22 Ospreys on May 26, such a deal would round out the Air Force and Marine Corps buy of 50 and 360 aircraft, respectively.
If the five-year deal is approved, it means that the Pentagon will save a minimum of ten-percent over a one year buy of the tiltrotors, according to Col. Greg Masiello, NAVAIR's V-22 program manager. The flyaway cost for each bird is roughly $65 million.
"At this point we're confident of ten-percent savings over a single year price," is all John Rader, Bell Boeing's executive in charge of the V-22 program, would say when asked if the deal will save more than ten-percent.
Congress must approve the deal before it can go forward.
Meanwhile, the Air Force variant of the tiltrotor is seeing readiness rates pushing 80-percent for deployed units while Marine MV-22 squadrons operating in the field are up to around 70 percent, according to Masiello. Stateside units are still a little lower than that.
And in a very interesting piece of Osprey news, HMX-1, the Marine chopper squadron that flies Marine One presidential helicopters will receive 14 MV-22 Ospreys to haul the president's gear starting in 2013, said Masiello. The tiltrotors will replace the VH-53D Sea Stallions used to carry the president's gear (not the president) that are being pulled out of VIP duty and back into regular cargo hauling squadrons. Last year, Boeing announced that it was offering up the V-22 in response to a NAVAIR request for information on a new Marine One replacement chopper.