PATUXENT RIVER, Md., 6 Sept. 2013. Officials at Bell Boeing, a strategic alliance between Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE:TXT), and Boeing (NYSE:BA), completed an initial test of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft performing as an aerial refueling tanker.
Adding aerial fueling capability to the V-22 lends to greater versatility in combat, humanitarian, and ship-based operations, officials say.
“Adding aerial refueling tanker capability to the V-22 will enable operators to execute a wider variety of missions with greater flexibility and autonomy,” says Vince Tobin, Bell Boeing V-22 program director. “This will save time and money by maximizing the efficient use of aircraft and personnel.”
The August demonstration over north Texas involved a V-22 equipped with a prototype aerial refueling system. It safely deployed, held stable, and retracted the refueling drogue as an F/A-18C and an F/A-18D Hornet flew just behind and to the side of the aircraft.
Future Bell Boeing tests will put aircraft in a fuel-receiving position directly behind the V-22, connect receiver aircraft with the refueling drogue and, ultimately, refuel a variety of aircraft in flight.
The V-22 is a combat-proven tiltrotor that can fly horizontally at high speeds and high altitudes like an airplane, and take off and land vertically like a helicopter.
Bell Boeing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is a strategic alliance between Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. and Boeing Defense, Space & Security.