At a briefing here Monday, the Pentagon’s V-22 Osprey program manager presented a long list of countries that had shown some interest in acquiring the Bell-Boeing tiltrotor. Marine Corps Col. Greg Masiello cautioned that only Israel had firmed up a contract and that his office’s contact with some of the others was still in the early stages. Nevertheless, the list is interesting and worth repeating: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, U.A.E. and the UK.
The big news in the V-22 program is last week’s award of another multi-year buy: 99 more aircraft worth $6.5 billion over five years. The program office said the deal would save U.S. taxpayers nearly $1 billion, compared with contracting annually. “It’s a good vote of confidence. This contract takes us close to the original program of record total for the V-22,” noted Boeing Defense and Security vice-president of business development Chris Raymond here last Sunday.