U.S. Marines Corps V-22 Osprey

A U.S. Marines Corps MV-22 Osprey refuels with a KC-130J Super Hercules over Australia.

The V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircraft developed by a joint venture between Bell Helicopter and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. It has both vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities, combining the functionality of a typical helicopter with the long-range and high speed of a turboprop aircraft.

The development of the V-22 Osprey traces back to the failure of Operation Eagle Claw, a planned mission to rescue 66 American hostages held in Tehran (Iran) but ended with the death of eight U.S. servicemen and no hostage rescued. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) saw the need to develop a transport aircraft with long-range, high-speed, and vertical-takeoff capabilities, and kicked off the program that resulted in the V-22. The aircraft made its first flight in 1989 and has remained in service ever since.

MV-22 Ospreys in flight above the Pacific Ocean.

The Osprey is the primary assault support aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps., deployed in combat since 2007. It’s also used by the US Air Force and Navy, with custom enhancements to meet their respective needs. The aircraft is available in three configurations; MV-22 for the Marine Corps, CV-22 for the US Air Force Special Operations Command, and HV-22 for the Navy. It has a unit cost of $90 million.

Only two countries currently use the V-22 Osprey; the United States and Japan. However, there are plans for more foreign sales, with interested buyers reported to include the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and South Korea.