February 11, 2014
Credit: Rupa Haria
With foreign interest in the V-22 Osprey rapidly gathering pace, the U.S. has decided to show off the type’s capabilities here at the Singapore air show.
Two of the Bell-Boeing tiltrotors have deployed from their home base in Japan to feature in the show’s flying and static display.
The two Ospreys are from U.S. Marine Corps squadron VMM-262, known as the Flying Tigers, one of the units that recently deployed to support the relief efforts after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Crews went into action within 24 hr. of arriving in-country, flying hundreds of thousands of pounds of relief supplies to areas cut off by the storm.
While the type’s initial deployment into Japan back in 2012 was shrouded in controversy over perceived safety issues, the U.S. Marine Corps now has two squadrons of the aircraft based in-country, and the Japanese government recently announced it is looking to purchase the aircraft in a bid to counter the build up of Chinese forces in the region.
As many as 17 V-22s could be purchased by Japan, on top of the six MV-22s requested by Israel in a recent Defense Security Cooperation Agency request to Congress about a Foreign Military Sales deal for the aircraft.
Boeing officials here at the show say a third country has made solicitations about the tiltrotor aircraft, but won’t say which, although it is believed to be in the Middle East. The company believes there is a market for up to a further 100 aircraft in terms of international sales, additional aircraft for the U.S. Air Force in the special forces CV-22 configuration and the U.S. Navy’s requirement for a new carrier onboard delivery aircraft.