The surprise announcement that Israel was acquiring the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey for its special forces has led other countries to take a second look at buying the aircraft that has greater range and speed than conventional helicopters.
“I can tell you that several countries are very, very interested” in the Osprey, said William Schroeder, a spokesman for Bell Boeing of Fort Worth, Tex.
Schroeder declined to name the interested countries, but the United Arab Emirates has been haggling with Bell Boeing for more than a year on unit prices, and Britain and Canada have also inquired about the Ospreys.
The sale of Ospreys to Israel — if coupled with buys from other states — could insure keeping the production line open past the current phase out date in 2018.
Somehow I missed this news on Friday. And yes, the “sale” will be highly subsidized by the US. On the other hand, once the FMS door is cracked, other countries may be interested.
My only real complaint with the MV-22 program has always been the cost of the aircraft. With that in mind, selling more airframes overseas helps. It won’t help with the unit cost of airframes already bought, but the increased base number of airframes will help spread a small amount of the costs for spares and other operating costs such as overhauls.