On Monday, the Department of Defense awarded the Bell/Boeing Joint Program Office -- a joint venture between aerospace firms Boeing (NYSE: BA ) and the Bell Helicopter division of Textron (NYSE: TXT ) -- a $73 million contract to repair 142 separate components on V-22 tiltrotor aircraft built by the joint venture.
The V-22, also known as the Osprey, is the first tiltrotor aircraft capable of taking off vertically like a helicopter, then transitioning to prop-driven forward movement like an airplane. It thus marries the flexibility of a helicopter to operate in rough terrain, with the speed and greater flying range of an airplane. It is twice as fast as an ordinary helicopter, according to Boeing, and with a "much longer" range.
The Pentagon's award to Bell/Boeing hires the joint venture to perform required repairs on the U.S. Navy's fleet of Ospreys through September 2015. Specific payments will be made as task orders are requested.