Bell Helicopter and the Boeing Co. are looking to build on the success the partnership has had selling the V-22 Osprey to Japan, a Bell executive said June 20 at the Paris Air Show.
“The V-22 is the most versatile, marinized, vertical-lift [aircraft] available today,” said Richard Thornley, managing director for Japan at Bell Helicopter. The tilt-rotor aircraft already has been selected by the U.S. Navy for its carrier-onboard delivery mission and Bell-Boeing has 44 systems pending a contract, he said. Those contracts are expected to be finalized this year.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has similar requirements, he added. It will need to replace between 15 and 25 of its maritime delivery helicopters, he said. Japan could get more bang for its buck if it went with a V-22 instead of a traditional helicopter, he added.
“With a V-22 Osprey, the productivity is much higher because it can fly with twice the speed, twice the range and twice the payload than a conventional helicopter,” he said. “Therefore we believe that if the V-22 is selected, less units would be needed.”