Boeing and Bell Textron have redelivered the first MV-22B Osprey to be upgraded under the Common Configuration—Readiness and Modification (CC-RAM) program. This initiative seeks to improve the overall readiness and reliability of the Osprey force by reducing the number of “mini-fleets” of aircraft in different standards and configurations. At the start of the program in mid-2017 the Marine Corps fleet had around 70 distinct sub-variants with differing maintenance and spares requirements, even within squadrons: CC-RAM was implemented to reduce that number to as few as five.
CC-RAM takes older Block B MV-22Bs and raises them to the current-production Block C standard. The first machine to undergo the upgrade was initially delivered to the Marines in 2005 and was flown from its base at MCAS New River, North Carolina, to Boeing’s Philadelphia plant for modernization. A second reworked tiltrotor is scheduled for redelivery early next year.
“Our first CC-RAM aircraft returning to New River was a key program benchmark,” said U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Matthew Kelly, program manager at the V-22 Joint Program Office (PMA-275). “We are excited to see the capability, commonality, and readiness improvements these CC-RAM aircraft bring to the fleet as part of the Marine Corps’ V-22 readiness program.”
The Marines have a requirement to upgrade around 130 older aircraft, with downtime reduce to about eight months per aircraft and production accelerating to 24 per year. The latest in a series of contracts—worth $146 million for nine aircraft—was awarded last month. The modification addresses a wide range of commonality issues, plus larger items such as the installation of weather radar, traffic collision avoidance system, new mission computer, and modified fuel dump system.
Meanwhile, the first CMV-22B Osprey for the U.S. Navy has been spotted outside the Arlington, Texas, factory. Assigned the BuAer number 169435, the Osprey is fitted with the enlarged sponsons for greater fuel carriage that provide a visible identification feature for this variant.
Thirty-nine CMV-22Bs are on order to replace the aging Grumman C-2 Greyhound in the carrier onboard delivery role. They will serve with fleet logistics multi-mission squadrons VRM-30, -40, and -50. VRM-30 “Titans” was established at NAS North Island, California, in December 2018 to begin Osprey training on Marine MV-22Bs. Control of the CMV-22Bs is the task of the Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing, which was established at North Island on October 10, in advance of the first CMV-22B deliveries that are due to begin next year. Initial fleet deployment is due in 2021 aboard USS Carl Vinson, with the final Greyhounds to be retired in 2024.