Senior Defense Department officials will brief a Japanese delegation at the Pentagon on Friday on recent incidents involving U.S. MV-22 and CV-22 Osprey aircraft variants.
"This is a tangible demonstration of how seriously the Department of Defense takes the issue and inquiries made by the government of Japan on this matter," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters.
The briefing will be led by senior DoD military and civilian officials, including Mark W. Lippert, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. It follows what Little described as concerns about the aircraft by the Governor of Okinawa. DoD is planning to deploy the MV-22 to the Asia-Pacific region.
The aircraft operates with the speed and range of a turboprop, the maneuverability of a helicopter and the ability to carry 24 Marine combat troops. It travels twice as fast and five times farther than previous helicopters.
The Air Force CV-22 Osprey is a special operations variant of the aircraft. The tilt-rotor aircraft can fly like an airplane and land like a helicopter.
An MV-22 Osprey crashed in April in a Moroccan military training area southwest of Agadir, while participating in the bilateral Exercise African Lion. A CV-22 Osprey crashed on June 13 during a training mission north of Navarre, Florida, injuring five crew members.
"The briefing will provide information surrounding the June 13 mishap, as well as a status update on the investigation process, which the department is committed to completing in a comprehensive and timely manner," Little said, adding that officials from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, will participate in the briefing.
The briefing also will summarize the results of the initial investigation into the April MV-22 crash, which determined the incident was not caused by mechanical failure.
Little emphasized the Osprey's safety record and reliability. "The Osprey is a highly capable aircraft with an excellent operational safety record, and over 140,000 flight hours logged, about one-third of which were flown in the last two years," he said.
"The United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps are continuing flight operations with the CV-22 and MV-22 fleet around the world. This includes transporting American troops in the United States and in combat operations in Afghanistan," he added.
Following the incidents, Japan's new Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto urged the Pentagon to quickly provide a final report on the crash of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft in Morocco.
U.S. plans to deploy 24 such aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Japan's Okinawa prefecture. The V-22 Osprey is a TiltRotor vertical/short takeoff and landing (VSTOL) aircraft jointly developed by U.S. companies Bell Helicopter and Boeing for multi-service combat operational requirements.
He told his American counterpart Leon Panetta that residents of Okinawa were opposed to deployment of the aircraft in their island, and that he wanted the final report on the April crash compiled quickly, so he could provide the locals with a detailed explanation.
by RTT Staff Writer
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