III MEF's statement on arrival of Ospreys
OKINAWA — The arrival of MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft in Japan has been the subject of much public interest. The Marine Corps has worked closely with our government of Japan partners to ensure a smooth transition of the aircraft into Japan. The basing and operation of the MV-22B in Japan is an example of the United States’ commitment to the Asia-Pacific region and the importance of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.
Since 2007, the Marine Corps has been continuously using the MV-22B in extreme environmental conditions during 14 combined deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and aboard amphibious shipping. The revolutionary capabilities of the aircraft, combined with basing in Okinawa, will significantly strengthen the ability of III Marine Expeditionary Force to assist in the defense of Japan, perform humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and fulfill other alliance commitments.
Safety is our number one priority when operating our aircraft, to include both the safety of our aircrew and our community. The Osprey has operated and continues to operate safely in the United States. Senior government of Japan officials have flown safely in Ospreys on both the East and West Coasts of the United States.
It is important to note that when we operate the aircraft, the majority of MV-22B flight operations will be in the fixed-wing mode while the helicopter (vertical takeoff and landing, or VTOL) and conversion modes will primarily be used during takeoffs and landings and when the aircraft operates in training areas and landing zones.
As with all our flight operations, to the maximum extent practicable, we look to avoid flights over densely populated areas. Although the aircraft will operate in helicopter and conversion modes as it moves in and out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma airspace and traffic pattern, all operations will be focused on safe execution and minimized noise signatures.
It is important to re-emphasize that the MV-22B has an excellent safety record, as it ranks among the very safest of all U.S. military aircraft when reviewing the key metric of the first 100,000 hours of flight.
Our most valuable relationships are with our community neighbors. We consistently do our utmost to keep our community safe, and will continue to do so as MV-22B Ospreys arrive in Okinawa.