Test flights began yesterday for the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey helicopter to check a problem that was discovered a few months ago. The Defense Acquisition Board is scheduled to review the Osprey program in June.
The U.S. Navy avoided competitive bidding for the replacement of cargo aircraft by ordering 44 Bell-Boeing V-22 Ospreys under an existing $6.5 billion contract. The Ospreys will replace the existing fleet of 35 C-2 Greyhound aircraft.
Executives say that Bell-Boeing's V-22 Osprey will have two international buyers by year's end. "There's nothing that's turned into an [letter of offer and acceptance] yet, but we're working on that," said Vince Tobin, a Bell-Boeing V-22 program director.
Officials at the V-22 Osprey program are pursuing long- and short-term redesigns to fix the cooling device on the Bell-Boeing tiltrotor aircraft. The short-term fix will be available for an upcoming evaluation, while the long-term fix will be available in 2007 and will boost the cooling device's endurance.
United Airlines officially said it no longer would use Atlantic Coast Airlines as one of its regional carriers, starting in June. The move allows Atlantic Coast to begin its transformation into low-cost carrier Independence Air, for which the airline has ordered 25 new Airbus jets.
Qantas plans to start a new, Singapore-based, low-cost carrier by year's end. The new airline, expected to be called Jetstar Asia, is being put together with the help of Singapore investors and is seen as an answer to the region's other low-cost carriers, such as Malaysia's AirAsia and Singapore's Tiger Airways.