Thursday, February 4, 2010

Singapore Airshow: Boeing Looks To Lower V-22 Cost

Published: 4 Feb 2010 10:05

SINGAPORE - Boeing officials acknowledged this week that the company must lower the cost of the V-22 Osprey by up to 20 percent if they hope to sell the tiltrotor on the international market.

After decades of development and controversy the aircraft has finally entered combat service with the U.S. Marines and Air Force. However, if the company wishes to keep the production lines humming for international customers once the U.S. completes its predicted buy of 458 aircraft in the coming decade it must lower the cost, according to Phil Dunford, Boeing's vice president of rotorcraft systems.

"We think that we really need to get 15 to 20 percent out of the price to really make it affordable internationally and we're working hard on that," said Dunford during a Feb. 3 press conference here.

While Boeing has been in talks with numerous countries about the tiltrotor, nearly all have told the defense giant they can't afford the airplane, he added.

Before the company can bring down cost however, it must be able to increase the operational availability of the maintenance-intensive aircraft.

"It's making sure we get the aircraft where it needs to be in terms of peak readiness," said Dunford. "If you can drive the affordability of the airplane down it also helps the availability, because the price of all your parts goes down."

All of this must be done while the company builds and supports the 458 U.S. aircraft, he added.

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