Bell Helicopter is exploring new markets and missions for its Bell-Boeing Osprey V-22 military tiltrotor.
The company recently demonstrated the V-22’s search-and-rescue (SAR) capabilities to the Canadian Forces. The V-22 is ideally suited to the SAR mission in Canada, with its vast distances and harsh environments, and could do the work of several aircraft on a typical mission, according to a Bell spokesman.
I’ve been a critic of the MV-22 Osprey for a long time. Not on the technical merits. It works, and it works well.
My beef with the bird is that it is simply too expensive to be used as an assault transport for the Marines.
I do think there are several applications where its unique capabilities would be a boon. The proposed Canadian SAR variant would be one. Again though, costs rears its ugly head. Canada is hardly a nation with bulging reserves of cash. The enormous cost of the airframe, and relatively high operating costs will likely dampen any enthusiasm for what would probably be an excellent SAR platform for them. I’m also unsure of the anti-ice capabilities of the bird.