Marines in Japan won’t be flying the V-22 Osprey for a while
This handout picture taken by the US Marines on July 23, 2012 shows an Osprey MV-22 aircraft being inspected after it was unloaded from a cargo ship at the US Marines' Iwakuni Air Station in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan.
August 3rd, 2012
05:53 PM ET

Marines in Japan won’t be flying the V-22 Osprey for a while

By Larry Shaughnessy

All Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys deployed to Japan will stay on the ground until the Japanese government is informed about the cause of two recent crashes involving the tilt-rotor aircraft, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced Friday.

"When the government of Japan came to us and expressed safety concerns about the MV-22 deployment, we immediately responded," Panetta said in a joint news conference at the Pentagon Friday with new Japanese Minister of Defense Satoshi Morimoto.

"In recognition of the remaining concerns of the Japanese government about the safety of the aircraft, we will refrain from any flight operations of the MV-22 in Japan in the short term."

The Marine Corps deployed 12 Ospreys to a base in Japan in recent weeks. Another 12 aircraft are scheduled to deploy there next summer.

The V-22 is called a tilt-rotor because it can take off and land like a helicopter but fly like an airplane. The MV-22 is the Marine Corps version of the craft.

Panetta, who has flown in Ospreys several times, including in Afghanistan, said the aircraft will be a valuable tool for Marines and for their host country.

"The Osprey is important to the defense of Japan," he said. "It will enable Marines to fly faster and farther from Okinawa to remote islands in Japan. And with the ability to refuel in flight, it can stay aloft much longer."

Concern about the Osprey's safety record has been fueled by two recent mishaps.

Last April, an Osprey crashed during a training exercise in Morocco. Two Marines were killed and two more were injured.

And in June, an Air Force Osprey crashed at a base in Florida, injuring 5 crew members.

Morimoto said Japan wants details on the causes of those crashes before any Ospreys fly there.

He said officials there "will get a briefing from the team in United States which is involved in investigation and the United States will give us the report of the investigation with regards to what happened in Florida and Morocco as soon as possible," Morimoto said.

Morimoto got a first-hand look at the Osprey Friday when he flew in one from the Pentagon to Quantico, Virginia, after the news briefing.

Panetta said he hopes to get the information to the Japanese government within a month.

The Osprey earned the unofficial nickname "The Widowmaker" after questions were raised about its safety after number of crashes during its initial development and testing, including one in 1992 at a Marine Corps air base in Virginia that killed the crew.

In late 2000, the Marine Corps grounded the Osprey fleet after two more crashes, one in Arizona that killed four crew members and 15 passengers and another in North Carolina that killed the crew.

The aircraft was redesigned and has earned high praise among Marine Corps leaders who use it frequently in Afghanistan.

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soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Rob

    I dont know why it seems so many people dislike the United States. Yes the US is far from perfect and have made its fair share of mistakes but so has every other nation that has ever exsisted. The U.S. has done so much for the rest of the world which I beleave outwights the bad and yes I am admiting to the bad because there is no disputing there is bad. However whenever there is a disaster in the world or people are suffering for whatever reason the U.S. does make and effort to try and help at the cost of millions of U.S. dollars that are never expected to be paid back. If you don't like the United States thats your opinion and I respect it but don't make it out to be the most horrible nation in human history because we have givin the world so much. Some bad but also many many more times good.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  2. Portland tony

    I rode in a V-22 prototype 2/3 size out of San Diego back in the 80's. Bell (Boeing) has done a great job of turning a very hard to maintain albatross into a pretty good logistics bird. Problem is that the aircraft is a 40 year old design and 40 year old replacement parts are non existent or very expensive. The marines love it cause it's faster than a helo and has a pretty good flight envelope. Plus they just can't afford a new design!

    August 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
    • AA Cunningham

      The XV-15 was a much different aircraft than the MV-22 and if you seriously think that we're talking about sustaining engineering in parts procurement; "and 40 year old replacement parts are non existent or very expensive." then you shouldn't be commenting on the story.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:16 am | Reply
  3. obama is weak

    it is called the Osprey when in fact it should be called a flop

    August 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  4. saeed

    what ever usa and britain want to do there is only one answear one topol m2 icbm right into london and another great news 2 new zealand soldier got gunned down by to taliban high warriors.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:09 am | Reply
    • Rob

      Saeed why do you always want to destroy the America and Britian. If it werent for these two nations the Nazi's would have taken over the entire world and since Arabs are not part of Hitler's master race they would have gone to the concentration camps like everyone else Hilter considered undesierable. You owe your life to all the American and British soilders who fought during world war 2. Also this sick obbsision with nuclear annailation of the west is very disturbing and impratical. If you nuke the west they will nuke everyone else so the whole world goes down plus with these nuclear missle sheilds in Europe and the Western United States a nuclear attack on America is virtually impossible and Europe is also very hard to hit to. One last thing there is no such thing and a tailiban high warrior. A warrior faces his enemy in battle and fights with honor and courage. Taliban terrorist hide behind weman and children and kill them in order to maintain their power and can only kill a western soilder in an ambush or with a roadside bomb not in a fair fight. In a fair fight the U.S. would only need 2 hours to wipe out the the taliban, 1 hour to set up and 1 hour to kick ass. God bless all American soilders and all of America's allies that stand by us and fight and die by us.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:31 am | Reply
      • saeed

        We Pakistani people are the best people we have defeated every other human race the onlything i will say is Pakistan zedebad long live Pakistan only Pakistan.

        August 5, 2012 at 10:07 am |
      • sam

        Come on Rob, how do you expect God to bless America while we're using those godless drones of ours to butcher people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen? By the way, you can quit spewing all that right-wing mumbo-jumbo of yours because it just makes you look stupid!!!

        August 5, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • William F. Phuckley

        Rob, the Soviets destroyed more Nazi's than the rest of the allied forces combined.

        August 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
      • William F. Phuckley

        And another thing, Rob – where is the "honor and courage" when our troops rape and murder helpless civillians?

        August 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • skipper Sam

      Of course the problem would be the United States giving who ever launched it 32 Trident II missiles in return.

      August 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • just wondering

      Just another sick diseased person

      August 6, 2012 at 9:57 am | Reply
  5. sam

    Hi. My name is sam. I'm looking for a good time. Must love war and have a small tool.

    August 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Me too sam, me too. The only promblem here is that I hate war! I guess that I've seen too much bloodshed in my lifetime plus that I'm no ignorant southern Tea Party redneck like you. Most Americans, unfortunately, are quite ignorant of the horrors of war and seeing women, children and elderly people lying beside the roads with their bodies torn open from bombs from the skies above!!!

      August 5, 2012 at 1:47 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Sorry sam, for the above missprint. I meant to print "problem". not "promblem". My apologies.

      August 5, 2012 at 1:50 am | Reply
  6. Bangash

    To me this crime against humanity in Aurora theater has two main reasons and I will blame two for this unfortunate incident.
    1 This evil James Holms who in person has carried out this merciless killing in civilian gathering.
    2 MIC dominant role in formulation of America's internal and external policies.
    In 1961 during last address to the nation US President Eisenhower had said "if the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) ever gains control of the U.S. government..we will never again see peace in our lifetime. If you manufacture weapons of war...you have to manufacture reasons to use them. They are slowly killing our government and country as well"
    Although I have not been to America but I have learnt through media and some friends that every American citizen can have a licensed gun in the name of self protection. Three decades back when USA or in other words MIC had not yet started war against USSR from our soil we were the most peaceful and safe people in surroundings, on border with Afghanistan as 90% of our population had no weapon at all and the major weapon was British made semi automatic rifle 303 which only high class and rich had to afford. We being a tribal had own customs and traditions due to which we had an ideal peace and quick system of justice and despite being a buffer zone between the two states none had proper Administrative setup, like police stations, or military garrisons in entire tribal belt and being a part of Pakistan under the Law of FCR tribal were responsible for the safety of the GOVT officials in their respective areas. So all this peace and prosperity those days had been due to one single reason that there were no guns, so commonly available.
    Today US greed for global domination and MIC's hunger for more and more money has not only put American soil on fire but also the fate of the whole world is in danger. This is not the first incident but a continuity of such unfortunate incidents on American soil and one American Governor has even called for action on emergency level. So with this background and prophetic words of US President in 1961, it is a time to stop before it reach a point of no return.

    August 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • Jen

      Go smoke another bowl of hashish... for it is you and your drugs that is causing far more danger to this world. The cancer of your world spreads as you shower the world with heroin. All the corruption and misery your culture spreads is far worse than the peace loving Americans. We did not choose this fight with Afghanistan... you came looking for it when your Islamic terrorists flew passenger planes into building in New York. Our country helped yours when the Russians occupied. We are not looking for a fight, but we will not run when poked in the eye. Afghanistan and Pakistan have been at war for hundreds of years.

      August 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
      • William F. Phuckley

        Pakistan was created in 1947. Ignorance like yours is what makes Americans look stupid all around the world.

        August 5, 2012 at 8:55 am |
      • Bangash

        Jen you are drunk and has no knowledge of what is going on around you. like a stupid just spitting every where with out looking for any truth. How you can ignore US military adventures all over the world and then calling American the peaceful nation. Now you have reached the peak and like all big one in the past your downfall has started on Afghan soil. Wait and see as you will have to reap what you have sown here,

        August 5, 2012 at 9:13 am |
      • sam

        @William F. Phuckley. You nailed it good, William. Thank you. I'm sick and tired of all these ignorant fools posting their right-wing stupidity on this web page!

        August 5, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Joe dirt

      Another day another Chinaman begging us to stop making the tools of his government's demise. Not going to happen.

      August 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Reply
      • William F. Phuckley

        Comprehend much?

        August 5, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  7. Denverboy

    Another...MILITARY .....Plane....That can't fly...Thats THREE and counting....We put our service men and women in unwarrented danger....to SHOW THE WORLD HOW POWERFUL WE ARE....when the Products we purchace from Huge Defense Contractors become at Hundreds of Billions of dollars are basicly very exspensive and dangerous....JUNK....But the Rytheon Boeing and Martin Lockeed are laughing ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK...with our Soldiers Blood on there hands and Taxpayers Money in there POCKETS....It's disgusting....It's sanctioned by Congress and it needs to STOP.....If they cant build decent product for our Armed Services.... Dont pay em...end of story... We subsidise these DEFENSE COntractos....to what end???? What benefit ??....JOBS ?? Campaign Contributions ??? A GOOD OL BOY SYSTEM...WHAT....and the Military is crying that it's budget might be getting cut....Realy....Hummmm......I cant imagin why..They are so efficent in aquisition and implimentation ....The Joint Chiefs need to get outta bed with these Contractors and look out for the well being of Service men and women..not there Political buddies.....There job is not make a bunch of FAT CATS FATTER...It's to protect this Nation ...and Be of Service and lead our SOldiers....Right now..They are NOT looking out for our brave Service Personnel....al all...

    August 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
    • RSL6VD

      I don't know why you think the MV-22 can't fly. Its flown over 100000 flight hours with an outstanding safety record.
      Yes the Osprey was expensive to develop and yes most of the cost can be attributed to an inefficiencies. However, to say that our service personnel are not better off for having the MV-22 is just ignorant. Its evident that you have no understanding of the aircraft, its capabilities, and what we can do with it. If you crunch the numbers you will find out that the Osprey is cheaper to operate, effectively replace 3-4 H-60's (depending on load out), and can complete the mission twice as fast and cover an AO 4 times the size. This means that we can provide the spectrum of Assault Support capabilities in a much more efficient, versatile, and survivable manner (aka the individual Marine wins). If your going to be ignorant, don't say anything at all. Especially if your going to make statements for "our service members" and whats best for them when you are clearly not even remotely knowledgeable on the subject.

      August 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  8. dreamer96

    Vertical takeoff and landing is a high requirement for the US Marines. It offers real front line support...it drove the helicopters, and the early development of AV8A, which was a death trap, but the AV8B was much easier to fly, still the base where I used to work at tested new OFP loads for the AV8B and pushed the AV8B in test fights, and maneuvers, and we lost a aircraft about every year to 18 months, and a test pilot about every two to three years...but that was nearly 20 years ago now...The F-35 has vertical takeoff capabilities and is very different from the AV8's.... The big advantage of the V-22 is the range...although many helicopters can refuel in air they need it more often, so.the V-22 still has longer ranges between refueling...which is important near the front lines...

    August 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  9. saeed

    usa and britain wants power always power moore and moore power its what they are preaccupied with god or bad these is what they want. i must say the name of this game is extremly dangerous if a nuclear war breaks out then all nuclear, chemical and biological hell will break out. and ho is the be resbonsible if london gets nuked and 40 million people die. keep on playing this game of russian rulette sooner or later your chances run out.

    August 4, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • Semantics101

      saeed, It sickens me that you're humble in the suffering of others. Whatever your intentions are you should get out from behind the computer and go breath some fresh air because I asure you there are billions of people who don't agree with you.

      As for the V-22, a great steping stone in aviaontics.

      August 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  10. Paul Martin Welsh expat foreign correspondent

    THey should have been thoroughly tested BEFORE not AFTER delivery to bases !

    August 4, 2012 at 8:19 am | Reply
  11. TheGreenMan

    Would the solution be to fit car-style airbags underneath the plane for absorbing the shock if/when it crashes?

    August 4, 2012 at 1:53 am | Reply
  12. AviationGuru

    The V-22 Osprey is a gold-plated sacred cow of the Boeing/Marine/politico establishment. It is also a proven flying death trap and should have been killed long ago.

    August 4, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
    • RSL6VD

      AviationGuru. You must not be much of a Guru on the Tiltrotors. There is no evidedence to sugest that the Osprey is a death trap. In fact the opposite is true. Including the most recent mishaps the Osprey is the second safest aircraft in the Marine Corps inventory. Any body who has any experiance working with the Osprey knows that it is a very capable and safe machine.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:49 am | Reply
    • V-22 pax

      V-22 passenger in Afghanistan on many occasions. The aircraft offers impressive capability, and the safety record isn't markedly different from other rotary aircraft with similar missions. Comments like the one above are uninformed and misleading. I've no axe to grind, as I'm not a Marine and am as wary of the defense industrial base as any after years as a program manager. Just wish the ignorent would follow Lincoln's advice and keep their mouths shut.

      August 4, 2012 at 1:52 am | Reply
    • AA Cunningham

      You keep on flying on 40+ year old Boeing Body Bags – the CH-46E, tiger. The rest of us who actually lay it on the line defending your sorry backside will continue moving onward and upward with the Osprey. Guru my foot.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply

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