AS USMC MV-22s FROM USS BONHOMME RICHARD OPERATE IN THE PHILIPPINE SEA, THE PENTAGON POSTPONES ITS PLAN TO DEPLOY USAF OSPREYs IN JAPAN

0
628

Originally the first three Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft were slated to arrive in the second half of 2017 with an additional seven aircraft scheduled to arrive by 2021

Taken on Mar. 10, 2017 in the Philippine Sea the beautiful photo in this post shows an MV-22B Osprey assigned to the “Flying Tigers” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262 taking off aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).

The ship is on a routine patrol operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance warfighting readiness and posture forward as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.

Noteworthy on May 11, 2015 the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced its intention to station a special operations squadron of U.S. Air Force (USAF) CV-22 Ospreys at Yokota Air Base (AB), Japan.

But on Mar. 13, 2017 the Pentagon announced that the original plan to deploy the tilt-rotors in Japan this year has been shelved and instead the Ospreys will be arriving in fiscal year 2020.

No reason was given for the change in timing.

Originally the first three aircraft were slated to arrive in the second half of 2017 with an additional seven aircraft scheduled to arrive by 2021.

According to the DoD press release, the deployment of tilt-rotor aircraft at Yokota AB in 2020 will provide increased capability for U.S. Special Operations forces to respond quickly to crises and contingencies in Japan and across the Asia-Pacific region, including humanitarian crises and natural disasters. It will also increase interoperability, enhance operational cooperation, and promote stronger defense relations with the Japan Self-Defense Forces.

The CV-22 Osprey is a highly advanced aircraft with unique capabilities and an excellent operational safety record. The deployment reflects the U.S. steadfast commitment to defend Japan and to station its most advanced capabilities forward as part of the Asia-Pacific Rebalance.

Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeanette Mullinax / U.S. Navy