The Pentagon yesterday approved full-rate production of the V-22 Osprey. The decision is good news for manufacturers Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing, which will increase production of the aircraft to 48 a year by 2012. The companies currently build 11 aircraft a year. The Osprey, a helicopter-airplane hybrid, uses swiveling rotors on its wingtips to take off and land vertically. It flies at the speed, range and altitude of a turboprop airplane. The Pentagon grounded the plane for 17 months after crashes in 2000.
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