Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Bell-Boeing has been awarded a $146 million contract for upgrades and maintenance on MV-22 aircraft.
The joint venture between Bell Helicopter and Boeing received the award in a contract modification with the U.S. Navy that the U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday.
The deal calls for upgrades to nine MV-22 aircraft from the Block B to the Block C configuration, along with maintenance to eight more aircraft as part of the Common Configuration- Readiness and Modernization program.
The Block C variant also has enhanced displays in the cockpit and cabin to improve situational awareness.
Most of the work will be done in Ridley, Penn., with some also done in Fort Worth, Texas. Work is expected to be completed by March 2022.
The MV-22 is the Marines Corps' variant of the V-22 Osprey. The aircraft uses tilt-rotor technology to offer the vertical flight options of a helicopter, as well as the speed and range abilities of a fixed-wing aircraft, according to Boeing.
The aircraft also has the lowest Class A mishap rate of any tactical rotorcraft in the Marine Corps over the past decade, according to Naval Safety records.
The V-22 Osprey is a "multirole combat aircraft utilizing tilt-rotor technology to combine the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft," according to Boeing.
More than 160 Osprey tilt-rotors are in operation currently, amassing over 130,000 flight hours.
The Navy's "Titans" crews are currently flying and training with Marines Corps-owned MV-22 Ospreys ahead of getting the first Navy aircraft.
The Navy's variant is the CMV-22B Osprey. Bell Boeing Joint Program Office was awarded a $4 billion contract modification to V-22 tilt-rotor contract last year to build 39 CMV-22B aircraft for the branch. Initial operational capability for CMV-22B is expected in 2021 with full capacity by 2022.