Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office is receiving a $57.1 million modification for an existing contract for engineering and refit work on the V-22 Osprey Common Configuration and Readiness and Modernization Program.
The contract modification will go towards one MV-22 as a test for improving readiness and eventual modification of the MV-22 fleet to the Block C common configuration.
The refit work will be performed in Ridley Park, Penn., and Fort Worth, Texas, and is projected to be completed by Dec. 2019.
The MV-22 Osprey is the primary assault support aircraft of the U.S. Marine Corps. It has a unique design that uses twin rotor engines for vertical take-off and landing that can be tilted forward for conventional turboprop flight, allowing much higher speed and endurance than conventional helicopters.
It can carry 24 fully equipped Marines and has a range of nearly 600 miles, greatly exceeding conventional helicopters. It also forms part of the U.S. President's HMX-1 squadron for transporting staff and equipment.
The Osprey faced a number of design problems and crashes during its development since 1989, resulting in 30 deaths. After extensive flight doctrine changes, the safety record of the aircraft has improved dramatically.
The Block C configuration includes improved environmental controls, chaff/flare countermeasures, navigation upgrades and command-and-control displays.