The Department of the Navy has kicked off its second multi-year buy for 99 V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft with option for 22 more, a NAVAIR official told USNI News on Thursday.
The Pentagon issued a $4.89 billion contract for the Ospreys on Wednesday with Textron’s Bell Helicopter division and Boeing.
Of the 99 aircraft The U.S. Marine Corps will operate 92 of the Bell-Boeing aircraft as MV-22s and seven will be operated by the U.S. Air Force as CV-22s.
The multi-year sheds an estimated $1 billion in costs over buying the aircraft individually, according to Jim O’Donnell from Naval Air Systems Command.
The Pentagon’s goal is for a planned total of 458 Ospreys, split between 360 for the Marines, 50 for the Air Force and an eventual 48 for the Navy.
This will be the second multi-year deal for the V-22, following a $10.4 billion deal with Bell Boeing for 167 of the aircraft in 2008.
The Osprey has been in operational use since 2007 in both Afghanistan and Iraq with a total of 214 in service with the Marines and the Air Force.
The news of the multi-year follows an announcement from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Israel planned to buy the aircraft for the countries special operations forces. Estimates indicate Israel would by five of the aircraft for $70 million a copy.