Defense

July 24, 2012

U.S. Osprey aircraft arrive in Japan amid protests

Tags:
by Eric Talmadge
Associated Press

A Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 Marine watches as an MV-22 Osprey rotates its wings into position during a series of routine checks on the flight line at the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, July 23, 2012. This marks the first MV-22 Osprey aircraft deployment to Japan and a milestone in the Marine Corps’ process of replacing CH-46E helicopters with the MV-22 Osprey, a highly-capable, tilt-rotor aircraft which combines the vertical capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft.

A shipload of the U.S. military’s latest transport aircraft arrived in Japan July 23 amid protests over safety issues that have aggravated longstanding grassroots concern over the presence of American bases in the country.

Workers began unloading and assembling the 12 MV-22 Osprey aircraft in the city of Iwakuni soon after the ship arrived. The U.S. plans to deploy the tilt-rotor aircraft to Okinawa to replace older CH-46 helicopters that are already there.

The Osprey deployment plan has become the latest rallying point for base opponents and a serious headache for officials in Tokyo and Washington hoping to calm anti-base sentiment.

Although the Ospreys will only be in Iwakuni briefly, opposition there has been unusually strong, with both the mayor and the governor saying they do not support even temporarily hosting the aircraft. Opposition to the large military presence on Okinawa is deep-rooted, and protesters July 23 held a sit-in outside the base where the Ospreys are to be sent.

Residents and local leaders in Iwakuni and on Okinawa have demanded the plan be scrapped because they say the planes are not safe. Such concerns boiled over after Osprey crashes in Morocco in April and in Florida last month.

Hundreds of protesters turned out to demonstrate against the arrival, some of them from aboard small boats.

The planes have been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the United States says they have a solid record. The Osprey can fly like an airplane and has tilting rotors that allow it to take off and land like a helicopter. It can fly much faster and carry bigger loads than the CH-46, which it is replacing worldwide.

“Deployment of these aircraft in Japan is a vital component in fulfilling the United States’ commitment to provide for the defense of Japan and to help maintain peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region,” the U.S. Embassy said in a statement July 23.

The United States has about 19,000 Marines on Okinawa, which also hosts a large U.S. air base. More than half of the roughly 50,000 U.S. troops stationed throughout Japan are based on Okinawa.

To ease tensions, Tokyo and Washington recently agreed to move about 9,000 Marines off Okinawa, but that has been widely criticized on Okinawa because a firm date for the move has not been set.

Okinawans are also angry that the Ospreys will be deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which the two countries decided to close more than a decade ago. The base has remained in operation because a replacement site hasn’t been readied.

The Futenma base is located in a heavily populated area, and residents have long protested against the noise, the potential for accidents and base-related crime. A CH-53 helicopter from Futenma crashed into a nearby university building in 2004, causing a huge anti-base uproar, although there were no civilian injuries and the crew survived. AP




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines October 22, 2014

News: Northrop challenges 3DELRR contract award - Northrop Grumman has formally issued a protest against the US Air Force’s decision to award its next-generation ground based radar to competitor Raytheon.   Business: Defense firms prefer GOP, but spread campaign cash between political parties - For every campaign contribution from a major arms manufacturer to a Republican candidate...
 
 

News Briefs October 22, 2014

Military converges on scene of Kansas jet crash Military personnel are investigating at the site in southeast Kansas where an Oklahoma Air National Guard fighter jet crashed after a midair collision with another one during a training exercise. The F-16 crashed Oct. 20 in a pasture about three miles northeast of Moline, an Elk County...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Upgrades ‘new normal’ for armor in uncertain budget environment

Courtesy photograph The current Paladin is severely under-powered and overweight so its speed of cross-country mobility is pretty restricted. The Paladin Integrated Management program is designed to address a number of these we...
 

 

ISR: A critical capability for 21st century warfare

The progressive adaptations and breakthroughs made in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance arena have changed the way wars are fought, and the way commanders think about the battlespace. “Whether we have airmen exploiting full motion video data or serving downrange in the (Central Command) area of responsibility, these individuals make up an enterprise of 30,000...
 
 

Lockheed Martin teams with Roketsan of Turkey on new standoff missile for F-35

Roketsan and Lockheed Martin signed a teaming agreement Oct. 22 for collaboration on the SOM-J, a new generation air-to-surface Standoff Cruise Missile for the F-35 Lightning II. The SOM system is an autonomous, long-range, low-observable, all-weather, precision air-to-surface cruise missile. The SOM-J variant is tailored for internal carriage on the F-35 aircraft. The companies will...
 
 

Army Operating Concept expands definition of combined arms

The Army Operating Concept, published Oct. 7, expands the idea of joint combined-arms operations to include intergovernmental and special operations capabilities, said Gen. Herbert R. McMaster Jr. The new concept includes prevention and shaping operations at the strategic level across domains that include maritime, air, space and cyberspace, he said. It’s a “shift in emphasis,”...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>