Vought to build Osprey tail structures through 2013

Vought Aircraft Industries has signed a contract with Bell Helicopter to manufacture the empennage, ramp and ramp door for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft through 2013.

Vought Aircraft Industries Inc. (Dallas, Texas) announced on April 2 that it has signed a multi-year contract with Bell Helicopter (Ft. Worth, Texas) to manufacture the empennage, ramp and ramp door for the V-22 Osprey. The estimated contract value exceeds $400 million for deliveries through 2013. It mirrors the contracts recently issued by the U.S. Navy that also cover MV-22s for use by the Marines and CV-22 versions for the Air Force.

"It is rewarding to be a team member on this multi-mission aircraft that is serving our nation,"said Dennis Orzel, vice president, Integrated Aerosystems Division. "As one of the largest structures supplier for the Osprey, we appreciate the ability to continue our work on this program.”

Since Vought initially signed on with the V-22 program in 1996, it has delivered more than 100 tail structures to Bell Helicopter. Each shipset weighs approximately 1,200 lb/544 kg. The use of an automatic tape laying machine provides layup efficiencies of the composite empennage structure.

Vought's Dallas facility is responsible for the engineering, design and production of the empennage, ramp and ramp door. About 200 people support Vought's V-22 program in Dallas, while another 30 workers in Milledgeville, Ga., build side skin assemblies, sponson and main landing gear panels.

The V-22 Osprey is produced under a strategic alliance between Bell Helicopter and The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash.). Bell is responsible for the V-22's wing, transmissions, empennage, rotor systems and engine installation. Boeing is responsible for the fuselage and all subsystems, digital avionics, and fly-by-wire flight-control systems.

The V-22 is the first aircraft designed from the ground up to meet the needs of the Defense Department’s four U.S. armed services. The tiltrotor aircraft takes off and lands like a helicopter. Once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight. It has a longer range and is twice as fast as a helicopter, resulting in greater mission versatility.