June 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy received its first fleet CMV-22B Osprey, a tilt-wing helicopter redesigned for use on aircraft carriers, the Navy said on Wednesday.
Designed and built by Bell Textron Inc. and Boeing Co., it was delivered at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., on Monday.
Two prior CMV-22Bs were delivered to the Navy, in February and in May, for developmental testing.
"We are thrilled to bring the Osprey's capabilities as a warfighting enabler and its ability to provide time sensitive logistics to the men and women deployed around the world in support of U.S. Navy operations," Kurt Fuller, program director of the Bell Boeing consortium, said in a statement.
The variant of the Navy's V-22 aircraft will take over the Carrier Onboard Delivery Mission, replacing the C-2A Greyhound, in use since 1964. It is a tiltrotor V/STOL aircraft that can take off and land as a helicopter, as well as transit as a turboprop aircraft.
The aircraft can carry 6,000 pounds of cargo, enough to transport the engine power module of an F-35 fighter plane, and its increased fuel capacity allows it to travel over 1,150 nautical miles.
The CMV-22B is seen as the transporter of goods and other logistical support between aircraft carriers, and between land and a carrier. Capt. Dewon Chaney, commodore of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron 30, or VRM-30, stationed at Naval Air Station North Island, praised the work involved in delivering the plane to the Navy on schedule.
"Today marks our birthday as a squadron," Cmdr. Tervor Hermann, commanding officer of VRM-30, said in a statement. "This is the instrument that will bring lethality to the fleet."
Boeing temporarily closed its Philadelphia manufacturing site in April as it contended with the pandemic.
"Between COVID-19 and the aircraft delivery schedule,everyone stayed focused to deliver this chariot to us," said Chaney. "It is so amazing that we have this capable machine to deploy in the fleet in order to develop combat lethality, and I am just glad that I get to witness this as your commodore."
The Navy projects an inventory of 44 CMV-22Bs.