politics

U.S. may deploy Osprey aircraft at Iwakuni before Okinawa

29 Comments

The U.S. and Japanese governments are currently discussing the possibility of deploying the MV-22 Osprey aircraft at the U.S. air base in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, before an expected deployment in Okinawa in August.

However, the Japanese Defense Ministry has become concerned about the safety of the Boeing-made tilt-rotor aircraft which can take off and land vertically.

On April 11, an MV-22 Osprey crashed in Morocco, killing two U.S. Marines. The Osprey has a history of technical problems and has been involved in several fatal crashes during test flights.

The Japanese Defense Ministry said it received an official report on the Morocco crash from the Pentagon on Friday, in which it said there were no mechanical flaws in the Osprey, though the report did not specifiy the cause of the accident, NTV reported.

The plan to first test the Osprey in Iwakuni before deploying it at the Futenma base in Ginowan was ordered by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, NTV reported. A Defense Ministry official will visit Iwakuni on Monday to brief local officials.

The planned deployment of the Osprey to Okinawa in August will be the first test of resolve for new Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto. He is already facing opposition from Okinawans who insist the Osprey is too dangerous to be allowed to fly in and out of a heavily populated area.

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29 Comments
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Oh my it is going to be interesting in Japan this summer or should say more interesting. Some person sail I am an American now. Sighs just know it will be the silly season this year.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Osprey has a history of technical problems and has been involved in several fatal crashes during test flights.

You can replace "Osprey" with any other aircraft and the statement would still be true.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

"The aircraft is incapable of autorotation to make a safe landing in helicopter mode if both engines fail. A director of the Pentagon's testing office in 2005 said that if the Osprey loses power while flying like a helicopter below 1,600 feet (490 m), emergency landings "are not likely to be survivable"."

Sounds like just the kind of hardware we need flying over southern Okinawa.

-3 ( +1 / -3 )

Your information may be a little dated, quoting concerns from 7 years ago. Lots of things have been changed since then. And before anyone starts quoting fatality figures take into account that most passenger airpalne types have more fatalities than this thing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Matthew well said, unfortunately the figures taken from the testing stages of the aircraft are what politicians and pundits who are opposed to the deployment of the Osprey will point to in their misguided and misinformed quest to prevent the deployment here in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A simple problem with a complex solution.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"You can replace "Osprey" with any other aircraft and the statement would still be true."

This is absolutely true. Some aircraft have worse safety records than others, though.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Osprey isn't needed and was just a result of lobbying by the military industrial complex. Funny though that now that Japan feels like the "testing ground" for the Osprey's safety, they are alerted. If it was just to deploy to Okinawa without stopping by for a while in the mainland, then there wouldn't be the alarm.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The Osprey isn't needed and was just a result of lobbying by the military industrial complex.

Actually something was needed to replace the aging fleet of helicopters now in use. The Osprey is an upgrade by far over what the current helicopter squadrons can provide.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

matt - It may be safer in combat because it flys higher and faster but i still would not get on one theres 2 major safety problems that have not been solved yet. autorotation and hydraulics.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

2005 was not exactly "testing stage", and if you know how they have solved the non-autorotation problem, I'm listening. Actually I am a bit irritable today because Friday was the worst in many moons for military aircraft noise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They could have made new versions of the transport helecopters they had with necessary upgrades and saved a lot more money. Not necessary and a waste of taxpayers money. I'm glad they are slashing the military budget now also. After 911 the military got a blank check each year, now they'll have to exercise some fiscal discipline like everyone else and choose the wars more carefully. Were broke.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

After 911 the military got a blank check each year, now they'll have to exercise some fiscal discipline like everyone else and choose the wars more carefully.

Puhlease. You speak as if we in uniform choose and fund our engagements at will. Our mission is to be capable and ready to engage any adversary in any theater at the bidding of YOUR elected officials.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

US Nin.......Well said! It's too easy to put the blame for everything on the people doing the job, on the line, and NEEDING the equipment. The Osprey is a huge improvement over the current helicopters, it's faster, it fly's farther, is air re-refuelable, and meets the mission needs of the Marine Corp and Navy.

It is deploy-able from ac carriers, combat support ships, and is also search and rescue capable as well.

in any theater at the bidding of YOUR elected officials.

My only disagreement is that "they" are your elected officials as well. Mine too, btw, so let's not forget it's the leadership of the US Government that makes the call where you go. Whether you agree or not, you have my deepest respect and admiration for what you do!

Ooo-rah!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Funny... I don't recall any "blank check". and I KNOW I've never been asked to "chose" which engagement I participated in.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's too easy to put the blame for everything on the people doing the job, on the line, and NEEDING the equipment.

If they quit they would not need any equipment. Standing armies are an ugly thing. Even uglier is when they go and invade other countries without need.

the Pentagon on Friday, in which it said there were no mechanical flaws in the Osprey, though the report did not specifiy the cause of the accident, NTV reported.

I don't all that much about the Osprey, but two things I know for absolute certainty is DON'T trust the Pentagon and DON'T trust people who give EVERYTHING military a thumbs up. The lies of omission we get from both groups are something none of us should ever forget. If the Pentagon can't or won't specify the cause of the accident, I say forget about bringing the Osprey here on that alone.

But of course some war junkies will support the Osprey just cause its "cool" and not one shred of concern for civilians on the ground who don't even want American bases on their native soil.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Any other aircraft with a safety record like this would be grounded until proven safe... I certainly wouldn't get in one.

It's a novel idea, the tilt-wing, but seems rather pointless when you have large, fast helicopters these days, such as Merlin/EH101.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thunderbird2

It's a novel idea, the tilt-wing, but seems rather pointless when you have large, fast helicopters these days, such as Merlin/EH101.

You do realize that to fulfill a mission flown by one 35 year-old CH-46 or one V-22 you would need three AW101 Merlins don't you?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Our mission is to be capable and ready to engage any adversary in any theater at the bidding of YOUR elected officials.

Don't make it out like I'm the one who elected the officials. And if we actually did get to vote wether or not we went to war my vote would always be a firm no.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is there any say for the Japanese people on their own land ? these killer machines MUST be deployed above people's own balcony for what ? To protect the people underneath..why MUST be done so ( choice sounded simple multiple (2) choices..but then the deployment MUST done somewhere if Okinawa makes noise ) public opinion voiced out by people over the reliability of these toys threatening their lives..

Solution : the 'Osprey' aircraft MUST first test fly everyday during a year at the backyard of the White House..if the U.S. President is not killed by plane crash or driven crazy by the noise then come back and put them in Okinawa..fair deal ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You do realize that to fulfill a mission flown by one 35 year-old CH-46 or one V-22 you would need three AW101 Merlins don't you?

Yeah but you would still save 6 million dollars and lives in the event of a crash from low altitude. Ospreys ain't cheap and they don't do autorotation.

Plus you would have the option of dividing the group by 3.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Osprey is very impressive in performance. Like all new technology it has it own set of problems. It is fast compared to the other two . As for the people of Okinawa, to be fair they want all of them gone, so this is just another aircraft. I know a bit about the CH-46 but nothing about the other and thus am not qualified to state a professional opinion. I have never seen one of them. Perhaps if the USG would work harder on public relations.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

jessebaybay

Don't make it out like I'm the one who elected the officials. And if we actually did get to vote wether or not we went to war my vote would always be a firm no.

Not saying at all that you elected for this official or that official or that you agree or disagree with a certain military action ordered by said elected official(s). All I was pointing out was that the military does not simply decide to engage in an armed conflict on our own but that we do so only by direction and authorization from elected civilian leadership.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Back on topic please. Posts that do not focus on the Osprey deployment in japan will be removed.

bobubaka

Yeah but you would still save 6 million dollars and lives in the event of a crash from low altitude. Ospreys ain't cheap and they don't do autorotation.

And how often do we worry about a double engine failure which is the only time you'd need to autorotate in a V-22? Not saying it can't or won't happen but the probability is small enough to justify the transition from a strictly rotary wing aircraft. Of course any probabilty is probably unacceptable to you but of course you're not concerend about the equally unlikely but possibile probability of any helo completely losing it's rotor head and completely losing any autorotation ability. That's when you'd wish that you were in an Osprey that at least has the ability to glide to an emergency landing vice falling like a rock out of the sky.

Plus you would have the option of dividing the group by 3.

Let's see, let me count the times we wished we could send three aircraft instead of one to insert a stick of troops... Nope. Sorry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The people of Japan should reflect and take a chill pill. While this aircraft has its troubles, all planes have troubles. I agree with USNinJapan2 in that military do not pick their fights, governments do. Anyhow before they get their tea curled they need to see some demonstration flights. Perhaps the Americans can get with the SDF and let them see and experience the aircraft. If I understand the accidents happened only during certain maneuvers that the Marines will never do over a populated area.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Oneof these aircraft has just crashed in the US; that won't help the case I'm sure.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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