Partially confirming media reports from Reuters that have been circulating over the past 48 hours, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday that it has awarded a $4.9 billion contract to the Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office. This is a joint venture between Boeing (NYSE:BA) and the Textron (NYSE:TXT) subsidiary, probably best known for manufacturing the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.
Under the instant contract, the Pentagon is hiring Bell-Boeing to produce 92 MV-22 Osprey aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps, and seven CV-22s for the U.S. Air Force, between now and September 2019. The contract, previously thought to be worth $6.5 billion to Bell-Boeing, will actually be for $4.9 billion, according to the Pentagon.
The V-22 Osprey, in its several variants, can take off and land vertically like a helicopter, but it travels twice as fast as a helicopter in horizontal flight. It also has greater range. The aircraft can carry 24 passengers, up to 10 tons of internal cargo, or up to 7.5 tons of external cargo carried in a sling -- or a combination of the above.