Nine Osprey tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey aircraft arrived at the U.S. Marine Corps base at Futenma in Okinawa on Monday, Japanese Defense Ministry officials said. Eight arrived at around 10 a.m., while the ninth touched down in the afternoon.
The defense ministry said it received notice of the deployment from the U.S. only one hour before the first eight Osprey departed from Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, at 8 a.m., NHK reported. The Ospreys have been at Iwakuni, undergoing maintenance checks for the past 10 days. They are part of a second squadron of 12 Ospreys that the U.S. is deploying in Okinawa.
The Japanese government last year approved the deployment of the Ospreys after receiving security assurances from the Pentagon. Okinawans were concerned about two Osprey crashes last year, in Florida and Morocco.
Military officials say the hybrid aircraft which can take off and land like a helicopter, is critical for regional security efforts.
The Osprey were scheduled to arrive in Futenma earlier this month, but after a U.S. HH-60 rescue helicopter crashed in a training area at Camp Hansen on Aug 5, the U.S. postponed their deployment.© Japan Today