12 Osprey military aircraft left San Diego on Tuesday for their deployment to Japan, the US Marine Corps confirmed on Wednesday. The 12 units of the MV-22 tilt-rotor transport aircraft left Sand Diego on a commercial ship and is estimated to arrive at a US Marine Corps base in Iwakuni by late July.
The planes are the second batch of Ospreys to be deployed in Japan as part of the military upgrade in the region. They will be joining the other 12 Ospreys stationed at the Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa by next month, after undergoing various tests in Iwakuni. They are set to replace the ageing CH-46 helicopters that they have been using for some time now. A Marine spokesman said that the aircraft will help the US military “in terms of security and humanitarian assistance for the entire Asia-Pacific region.”
Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima has asked the US and Japanese governments to stop this second deployment of Ospreys due to the numerous safety issues that have plagued the aircrafts since its development stage. Two US Marines were killed in an Osprey crash in Africa, while Air Force crew members suffered injuries during a similar incident in Florida. Both governments conducted investigations into this matter, and eventually reached the conclusion it was pilot error and not faulty machinery.
[ via Global Post ]