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US Navy Awards $58 Million for Tech Support to Embattled Vertical-Takeoff Jet

© AP Photo / Elaine ThompsonAn MV-22B Osprey aircraft flies in view of Lake Washington.
An MV-22B Osprey aircraft flies in view of Lake Washington. - Sputnik International
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Bell and Boeing have received a $58.3 million US Navy contract engineering support for the flight control systems and avionics software on the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, the Department of Defense announced.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The order provides for fleet software sustainment that includes engineering and technical support for the V-22 flight control system and on-aircraft avionics software; flight test planning; and coordination of changed avionics and flight control configuration, the Defense Department explained.

V22-Osprey - Sputnik International
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Bell and Boeing will also upgrade the planning of V-22 avionics and flight controls, including performance of qualification testing and integration testing on software products, the announcement added.

The V-22 Osprey flies farther and faster than traditional helicopters, overcoming traditional combat theater challenges. Its high speeds allow for rapid rescue of downed pilots and its longer range would allow for seamless fleet repositioning in a prospective Asia-Pacific theater.

However, the V-22 has had at least seven hull-loss accidents resulting in at least 36 fatalities. Thirty fatalities occurred during testing between 1991 and 2000, and at least six other fatalities occurred in combat after the craft became operational in 2007.

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