Rolls Royce is reportedly set to lose its position as the sole engine supplier for the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft fleet.
The Pentagon is currently exploring the engine options that may exist for use on all of the MV-22 models operated by the US Air Force, Marine Corps and export buyers, such as Israel, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The US Navy, the V-22 program manager, said in an emailed statement: "The V-22 Program is continually investigating ways to reduce the life cycle costs of the aircraft.
"Knowing that more than 90% of the operational use of the V-22 is in the future, coupled with budget pressures, it is prudent to investigate alternatives to existing systems and the engine is no exception.
"This is an inquiry to allow the programme to understand where industry is headed."
The V-22 Osprey fleet is currently powered by two AE 1107C Liberty new-generation 6,000shp class turboshaft engines.
The DoD seeks an alternative engine with improvements and increased output that is expected to support the aircraft’s ability to operate at high altitude and in hot weather.
The new engine is also required to cause ‘minimal impact to aircraft operation and physical systems,’ and should also be capable of retrofitting into the existing tilt-rotors.
However, the Pentagon is yet to take a decision on the introduction of a new engine for the V-22 fleet.
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce has announced the development of upgrades and reliability improvements for the V-22 engines that will boost power by 17%.
The company said in a statement that the upgrades have enhanced the engine’s performance in hot climates and at high altitudes, while reducing repair intervals and doubling the time between engine removals.
Jointly manufactured by Bell Helicopter and Boeing, the V-22 Osprey features both vertical take-off and landing, and short take-off and landing capabilities, and is used for amphibious assault, long-range special operations infiltration and exfiltration, search-and-rescue, medical evacuation and fleet logistic support missions.
Image: USAF CV-22 Ospreys prepare to land at Holloman Air Force Base in US. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Russell Scalf.