Sunday, June 17, 2012

Florida Osprey crash causes reverberations in Japan

Five crew were injured when a United States Air Force (USAF) CV-22 Osprey crashed in Florida while on a gunnery training mission on Thursday (Florida time). The crash is a further setback for the Japanese government's attempts to smooth over the deployment of US Marine Corps (USMC) MV-22 Ospreys to Okinawa, which has faced stiff and vociferous resistance from Okinawan residents concerned about noise and safety issues over the controversial tiltrotor aircraft.

Despite the Pentagon insisting that the deployment of MV-22s will proceed as planned to Marine Combat Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni on the Japanese mainland and subsequently to Okinawa's MCAS Futenma later this year, word from the Japanese government is that it has suspended the process of deploying the MV-22s to Japan until the cause and other details of the recent Osprey crash have been established.

The USMC plans to eventually replace 24 ageing CH-46F Sea Knights serving with two squadrons based in Okinawa with the Ospreys, beginning with the aircraft belonging to the Dragons of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265) which will then be known as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (VMM-265).

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