Japan urges US to probe Osprey's hard landing
Updated: 2013-08-28 16:00
TOKYO - Japan has asked the United States to quickly provide information on an MV-22 Osprey military plane that made a hard landing in Nevada, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference Wednesday.
Suga, Japan's top government spokesperson, said that it's important that the US move quickly to provide Japan with the information, as the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft is in use in Okinawa.
The deployment of the Osprey, with its dubious safety record, has been met with harsh local criticism and the government had previously stated that the plane would not conduct missions until they were convinced of its safety.
Suga said Wednesday once the government receives the relevant information on the latest Osprey incident from the US side, it will make it available to necessary officials, to mitigate the growing concerns of the people in Okinawa.
"The government will carefully explain the information provided to relevant people to dispel the concerns of people of Okinawa," Suga said.
Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera also asked the US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to clarify the situation on the hard landing, when the two met recently in Brunei, on the fringes of ASEAN-related meetings.
Hagel said he will endeavor to provide Onodera with the relevant information as soon as possible, according to Japan official.
Japan and the US plan to use the MV-22 Osprey during joint drills in October, government sources here said recently.
It would be the first such drills in Japan utilizing the tilt- rotor aircraft that can take off and land like a helicopter, but fly like a fix-winged plane, but in light of the ongoing US probe into the Nevada accident, the drills may be postponed, defense ministry officials said Wednesday.
According to US Military officials, four crew members escaped injury when a Marine Corps' Osprey made what investigators called a hard landing near Creech Air Force Base in Nevada on Monday.
Base officials released a statement saying the crash happened at 3:38 pm local time Monday on federal land during a training mission, and that rescue crews and federal officials secured the site.
Prior to this and during the Osprey's developmental phase 30 Marines died in three crashes, including 19 in a single accident in Arizona, in 2000 and more recently in 2010 an Air Force CV-22 touched down short of its landing zone in Afghanistan, hit a ditch, and flipped over, killing four of its occupants, according to official US military aviation sources.
The sources added that an official report released at the end of 2011 by the Pentagon's Department of Operational Test and Evaluation said that from June 2007 to May 2010, the Marine Corps' Osprey mission-capable readiness was only 53 percent and that for an aircraft that costs more than $100 million, that's unacceptable.