The United States Navy and Marine Corps have taken delivery of a brand new aircraft that has its roots right here in Amarillo. Bell Textron along with Boeing have introduced their latest version of the the V-22 Osprey that will soon be replacing aging units already in service. The contract for the new aircraft was first signed in June of 2018 and should be completed by November of 2024. Called the CMV-22B Osprey, it recently conducted its first test flight over Amarillo.

Approximately 13% of the work done on the new V-22 Osprey will be complete right here in Amarillo at Bell's assembly plant near Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport. The contract for the new aircraft is $4.12 Billion dollars. The Osprey fleet is used in a lot in humanitarian aid and support across the world as well as supply replenishment missions. The Osprey is able to take off vertically using tiltrotors that move and allow the aircraft to operate like a helicopter or fixed wing plane. The new V-22 will also be able to accept the F-35 lighting engine pack which gives it even greater abilities than the previous Osprey models. The upgraded model will allow extended range flights between aircraft carriers and land, up to 1,150 nautical miles. The first of the 39 aircraft to be built is scheduled to be in operational deployment by next year.

While the grounds of the Bell Assembly Plant in Amarillo are off limits to uninvited visitors, it is possible to see test flights and training around Amarillo. If you park at the English Field House Restaurant nearby Bell and the airport, you have great views of the tarmac area. That area is not only great for seeing operations at the Bell tarmac, but it is a great spot to do aircraft watching any day of the week.