Wednesday, September 26, 2012

PHOTOS: First Marine Ospreys in VMM-265 markings seen

U.S. Marine Corps photos by Sgt. Daniel K. Brown. Click on thumbnail for high resolution

The first photos of the controversial MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft in the markings of Futenma-based Marine Medium Tilitrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 have appeared, with these photos dated September 21st recently being published on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni's website. Of note is the Japanese character "Ryu" (Dragon) appearing on the tail of both Ospreys, along with VMM-265's EP tailcode. The squadron, named the Dragons, had recently transitioned to the Osprey from its venerable CH-46 Sea Knights.

Marine Corps aircrews have begun conducting MV-22 aircraft functional check flights and pilot proficiency flights aboard MCAS Iwakuni. These flights, which will occur over the next several weeks, will take place mostly over water, with any overland portion conducted within the MCAS Iwakuni airspace and traffic pattern.

The VMM-265 aircraft will eventually operate out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, in Okinawa. The United States says that basing the Osprey in Okinawa will significantly strengthen the United States’ ability to provide for the defense of Japan, perform humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and fulfill other alliance roles. However, Okinawa locals have vociferously opposed the basing of the Ospreys at Futenma, citing noise and safety concerns with Futenma being surrounded by built up civilian areas.

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