U.S. Marine Corps
Since March 2000, VMMT-204 has conducted Marine Corps crew training for the V-22. On 3 June 2005, Marine Corps helicopter squadron Marine Medium Helicopter 263 (HMM-263) stood down to transition to the MV-22. On 8 December 2005, Lieutenant General James Amos, commander of II Marine Expeditionary Force, accepted delivery of the first fleet of MV-22s, delivered to HMM-263. The unit reactivated on 3 March 2006 as the first MV-22 squadron, redesignated as VMM-263. On 23 March 2007, HMM-266 became Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 (VMM-266) at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.
The MV-22 reached initial operational capability (IOC) with the U.S. Marine Corps on 13 June 2007. The Osprey has been replacing the CH-46 Sea Knight since 2007; the Sea Knight was retired in October 2014. On 10 July 2007, an MV-22 landed aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, the first time a V-22 had landed on a non-U.S. vessel.
On 13 April 2007, the Marine Corps announced the first V-22 combat deployment at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq. On 17 September 2007, 10 MV-22Bs of VMM-263 left for Iraq aboard USS Wasp. The decision to use a ship instead of self-deploying was made because of concerns over icing during the North Atlantic portion of the trip, lack of available KC-130s for mid-air refueling, and the Wasp's availability.
On arrival, they were used in Iraq's western Anbar province for cargo and troop movements, as well as riskier "aero-scout" missions. General David Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, used one to visit troops around Iraq on Christmas Day 2007; as did then-presidential candidate Barack Obama during his 2008 tour of Iraq. Obtaining spare parts proved problematic. By July 2008, the V-22 had flown 3,000 sorties totaling 5,200 hours in Iraq. General George J. Trautman, III praised the V-22's increased speed and range over legacy helicopters, stating that "it turned his battle space from the size of Texas into the size of Rhode Island." Through 2009, V-22s had been fired upon several times by man-portable air-defense systems, and small arms with none lost to enemy fire.
A Government Accountability Office study reported that by January 2009, 12 MV-22s were operating in Iraq and they completed all assigned missions; mission capable rates averaged 57% to 68%, and an overall full mission capable rate of 6%. The report also stated that the aircraft had shown weakness in situational awareness, maintenance, shipboard operations and transport capability. The study concluded that "...deployments confirmed that the V-22’s enhanced speed and range enable personnel and internal cargo to be transported faster and farther than is possible with the legacy helicopters it is replacing."
The MV-22 deployed to Afghanistan in November 2009 with VMM-261, and saw its first offensive combat mission, Operation Cobra's Anger, on 4 December 2009. Ospreys assisted in inserting 1,000 Marines and 150 Afghan troops into the Now Zad Valley of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan to disrupt Taliban communication and supply lines. On 18 February 2011, Marine Commandant General James Amos indicated MV-22s deployed to Afghanistan had surpassed 100,000 flight hours and were noted as "the safest airplane, or close to the safest airplane” in the Marine Corps inventory.
In January 2010, the MV-22 was sent to Haiti as part of Operation Unified Response relief efforts after the earthquake there, the type's first humanitarian mission. In March 2011, two MV-22s from Kearsarge participated in a mission to rescue a downed USAF F-15E crew member during Operation Odyssey Dawn. On 2 May 2011, following Operation Neptune's Spear, the body of Osama bin Laden, founder of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, was flown by a MV-22 to the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the Northern Arabian Sea, prior to his burial at sea.
In 2013, several MV-22s received communications and seating modifications to support the Marine One presidential transport squadron due to the urgent need for CH-53Es in Afghanistan. On 11 August 2013, two MV-22s from Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) made their debut ferrying Secret Service agents, White House staff, and press members from CGAS Cape Cod to Martha's Vineyard during the President's vacation. In May 2010, Boeing announced plans to submit the V-22 for the VXX presidential transport replacement.
Several Japanese politicians and Okinawa residents opposed a V-22 deployment to Japan in July 2012, mainly due to several high-profile accidents. On 14 June 2013, an MV-22 landed on the JDS Hyuga off the coast of California, the first time a V-22 had landed on a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel. In January 2014, a MV-22 landed aboard the French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship Dixmude. A Marine MV-22 landed on the ROKS Dokdo (LPH-6111) on 26 March 2015, marking the first landing of an Osprey on a Republic of Korea Navy amphibious ship.
From 2–5 August 2013, two MV-22s completed the longest distance Osprey tanking mission to date. Flying from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa alongside two KC-130J tanker aircraft, the Ospreys flew to Clark Air Base in the Philippines on 2 August, then to Darwin, Australia on 3 August, Townsville, Australia on 4 August, and finally rendezvoused with Bonhomme Richard on 5 August.
In 2013, the USMC formed an intercontinental response force, the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force for Crisis Response (SPMAGTF-CR-AF), equipped with V-22s outfitted with specialized communications equipment. In 2013, following Typhoon Haiyan, 12 MV-22s of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade were deployed to the Philippines for disaster relief operations. The V-22's capabilities were described as "uniquely relevant", being able to fly faster and with greater payload while moving essential supplies to remote sites throughout the island archipelago.
The V-22 deployment to Afghanistan was set to conclude in late 2013 with the drawdown of combat operations; however VMM-261 was directed to extend operations for a new role, casualty evacuation, for which it was better suited than helicopters as its speed better enabled casualties to reach a hospital within the 'golden hour'; they were fitted with medical equipment such as heart-monitors and basic triage supplies.
In 2014, the SPMAGTF-CR-AF supported the time-critical effort against the Ebola virus epidemic in Liberia, flying 1,200 people and 78,000 lb (35 t) of cargo in V-22s.
In November 2014, three MV-22Bs were placed on alert at Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait to be ready within 30 minutes to recover downed pilots during the Military intervention against ISIL. On 29 occasions between 1 November and 24 April 2015, two Ospreys and a KC-130J aerial tanker assigned to this Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) mission spent 145 flight hours loitering, ready to perform rescue missions if required. The only pilot that was downed was a Jordanian, but he did not have a radio on him when he ejected and landed too close to ISIL forces.
U.S. Air Force
The Air Force's first operational CV-22 was delivered to the 58th Special Operations Wing (58th SOW) at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico on 20 March 2006. This and subsequent aircraft became part of the 58th SOW's fleet of aircraft used for training pilots and crew members for special operations use. On 16 November 2006, the Air Force officially accepted the CV-22 in a ceremony conducted at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The Air Force first used the V-22 on a non-training mission to perform search and rescue from Kirtland Air Force Base on 4 October 2007.
The U.S. Air Force's first operational deployment of the Osprey sent four CV-22s to Mali in November 2008 in support of Exercise Flintlock. The CV-22s flew nonstop from Hurlburt Field, Florida with in-flight refueling. AFSOC declared that the 8th Special Operations Squadron reached Initial Operational Capability on 16 March 2009, with six CV-22s in service.
In June 2009, CV-22s of the 8th Special Operations Squadron delivered 43,000 pounds (20,000 kg) of humanitarian supplies to remote villages in Honduras that were not accessible by conventional vehicles. In November 2009, the 8th SO Squadron and its six CV-22s returned from a three-month deployment in Iraq.
In August 2012, the USAF found that "CV-22 wake modeling is inadequate for a trailing aircraft to make accurate estimations of safe separation from the preceding aircraft."
On 21 December 2013, three CV-22s came under small arms fire while on a mission to evacuate American civilians in Bor, South Sudan during the 2013 South Sudanese political crisis. The three aircraft were damaged and four crew wounded; the mission was aborted and the aircraft flew 500 mi (800 km) to Entebbe, Uganda. South Sudanese officials stated that the attackers were rebels. The CV-22s, of the 8th Special Operations Squadron, had flown to Bor over three countries across 790 nmi (910 mi; 1,460 km). The formation was hit 119 times, causing flight control failures and hydraulic and fuel leaks on all three aircraft. Due to fuel leaks, multiple air-to-air refuelings were performed en route. Following the South Sudan incident, AFSOC developed optional armor floor panels for the V-22.
On 3 July 2014, V-22 aircraft carried Delta Force commandos to a campsite in eastern Syria where Islamic State militants had held American and other hostages. The commandos quickly eliminated the militants at the site, but found that the hostages had been moved elsewhere and returned home empty handed.
The Air Force is looking to configure the CV-22 to perform combat search and rescue in addition to its primary long-range special operations transport mission. The Osprey would act as a complement to Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk and planned HH-60W rescue helicopters, being employed in scenarios were its ability to cover more ground quickly would be better suited to search and rescue than more nimble but slower helicopters.
The United States Navy could potentially employ the V-22 in search and rescue, transport and anti-submarine warfare roles. The V-22 program included navy 48 HV-22s, but none have been ordered. One proposal is to replace the C-2 Greyhound with the V-22 for Carrier Onboard Delivery duties. One specific advantage of the V-22 in this role is the ability to deliver supplies and people between non-carriers ships beyond helicopter range. A MV-22 landed and refueled onboard Nimitz as part of an evaluation for COD in October 2012. Further cargo handling trials took place in 2013 on Harry S. Truman.
V-22 proponents have said that it is capable of similar speed, payload capacity and lift performance as the C-2, the V-22 can also carry greater payloads over short ranges; up to 20,000 lb, and can also carry suspended external loads. The C-2 can only land on carriers, requiring further distribution to smaller vessels via helicopters; the Osprey has been certified for operating upon amphibious ships, aircraft carriers, and logistics ships. The V-22 could also take the roles of some helicopters, with a 600 lb hoist fitted to the ramp and a cabin configuration for 12 non-ambulatory patients and five seats for medical attendants. Boeing designed a special frame for the V-22 to carry the Lockheed Martin F-35's F135 engine to ships. Bell and Boeing have pitched the V-22 to the Navy as a platform for various missions, such as communications, electronic warfare, or aerial refueling; the Navy have a known gap in tactical aerial refueling, currently handled by Marine KC-130s, Air Force KC-10 Extenders, and KC-135 Stratotankers with hose-and-drogue delivery systems.
On 5 January 2015, the Navy and Marines signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to buy the V-22 for the COD mission, and was confirmed in the Navy's FY 2016 budget. Designated HV-22, four aircraft would be initially bought each year from 2018-2020. The Navy's variant will incorporate an extended-range fuel system, a high-frequency radio for over-the-horizon communications, and a public address system to communicate with passengers. While the MV-22 has a range of 428 nmi (493 mi; 793 km) when carrying 24 Marines, the Navy has a requirement for an 1,150 nmi (1,320 mi; 2,130 km) unrefueled range a lower passenger/payload capacity.
The Indian Aviation Research Centre (ARC) is interested in acquiring four V-22 Ospreys for the purposes of personnel evacuation in hostile conditions, logistic supplies, and deployment of the Special Frontier Force (SFF) on the border. India had seen the Osprey's utility in relief operations of the 2015 Nepal earthquake. The deal could be worth some $300 million. Elements of the Indian Navy have also looked at the V-22 rather than the E-2D for Airborne early warning and control to replace the short-range Kamov Ka-31.
Israel has shown interest in the V-22. In 2009, Israel reportedly favored the Sikorsky CH-53K over the V-22. In 2011, Israel was interested in using the V-22 to support special operations and search & rescue missions. In 2013, Israel was reportedly interested in a possible lease of six to eight aircraft for special operations missions; the type is not to act as a replacement for existing rotorcraft.
On 22 April 2013, an agreement was finalized to sell the V-22 to the Israel Air Force. The Israeli aircraft are to be moved to the front of the production queue, jumping ahead of some USMC deliveries. They were expected to arrive as early as 2015. These aircraft are to be optimized for special operations and rescue missions. Israel is interested in doubling the purchase from six MV-22B Ospreys to 12 aircraft. The initial order of six aircraft could cost up to $1.13 billion including additional equipment and support. In October 2014, media reports indicated that Israel is deferring or canceling its procurement of the V-22 due to budget restraints and changing policies. However, although the Letter of Agreement offering a $400 million discount and early delivery formally expired, the deal is still on and the Defense Minister decided to wait until elections form a new cabinet in March 2015 to push for cabinet approval for it.
In 2012, former Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto ordered an investigation of the costs of V-22 operations. The V-22 exceeds current Japan Self-Defense Forces helicopters in terms of range, speed, and payload. The ministry anticipates deployments to the Nansei Islands and the Senkaku Islands, as well as in multinational cooperation with the U.S. Japan is considering plans to have V-22s in service in a maritime role by as early as 2015. On 21 November 2014, the Japanese Ministry of Defense officially decided to procure 17 V-22s, with deliveries planned from FY 2014 to FY 2019. In January 2015, Japan's parliament approved a defense budget with funding for five V-22s.
In February 2015, the South Korean Army showed interest in the V-22 for delivering special forces to islands in the Yellow Sea near North Korean territory; talks are to be held during 2015 on a possible Osprey buy.
United Arab Emirates
In May 2012, it was reported that the United Arab Emirates was in the final negotiation stages to purchase several V-22s. The UAE intends to use the Osprey to support special forces. Both UAE and the Pentagon seek a $58 million unit cost.