MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft arrive in the Top End

THE Aviation Combat Element of the 2018 Marine Rotational Force – Darwin has arrived in the Northern Territory as part of the seventh and largest rotation to date.

This year’s Aviation Combat Element comprises eight MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Deputy Commander Northern Command, Captain Bryan Parker, RAN, said the increase in Ospreys gave Australian and US forces the ability to conduct more complex and sophisticated training activities and exercises.

“During this year’s six month rotation, MRF-D and its Aviation Combat Element will develop an enhanced amphibious capability with the Australian Defence Force,” Captain Parker said.

The eight MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft are from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (VMM-268), based at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii.

The MV-22 Ospreys arrived at the Port of Darwin on a US cargo vessel.

Japan seeks to ground Osprey in wake of deadly Australia crash

he Japanese government has urged the U.S. military to ground all MV-22 Ospreys in Japan after one of the controversial tilt-rotor aircraft crashed off Australia’s eastern coast Saturday, presumably killing three Marines.

“I have requested that they refrain from all flight operations by MV-22 Ospreys in Japan,” newly appointed Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Sunday.

Onodera – who took over last week for embattled former defense minister Tomomi Inada in the wake of a data cover-up scandal – also called on the Marines to provide information on the crash, to investigate its cause and to take preventative measures, a ministry spokeswoman said Monday.

As of Monday afternoon in Japan, Marine officials had not responded to Onodera’s request or to requests for comment from Stars and Stripes.

The helicopter-plane hybrid from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 crashed into the sea at around 4 p.m. Saturday after taking off from the USS Bonhomme Richard for regularly scheduled operations, Marine officials said in a series of statements over the weekend.

The aircraft – carrying 26 Marines at the time – was approaching the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay when it smashed into its deck and slid into the ocean, according to the Courier-Mail, a newspaper based in Brisbane, Australia.

All but three of the Marines were rescued after the Bonhomme Richard and Green Bay launched small boats and aircraft, the statements and media reports said.

After a shaky development history that included several deadly high-profile crashes, the Osprey became a symbol of the anti-base resistance on Okinawa in 2012 when it arrived on the island to replace the Marines’ aging fleet of Sea Knight helicopters. The aircraft has since been the focal point of near daily protests, and expelling it from the island was a major campaign promise of Gov. Takeshi Onaga’s during the 2014 election.

US Marines consider grounding Osprey fleet after deadly Australia crash

The US Marine Corps may ground its entire air fleet for a safety review following the crash of an Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in Australia that killed three Marines, a defense official said Monday.

The Japan-based Marine MV-22 Osprey crashed Saturday during an exercise off the Australian coast, leaving three service members missing and presumed dead.

"We are looking at our options in terms of reviewing safety across the Marine Corps fleet at the moment ... pending an across-the-board safety review," a US defense official told AFP, noting that the grounding could affect all flying squads in the service.

US officials are also weighing a request by Japan's new defense minister, who told the US military on Monday of his "many concerns" after it flew an Osprey in Japan following the crash.

Itsunori Onodera, appointed Thursday as Japan's defense minister, asked the US to temporarily stop flying the aircraft in his country following the accident.

According to the US official, the Osprey crashed after clipping the back of the USS Green Bay while trying to land on the amphibious transport ship. The Okinawa-based aircraft which crashed was in Australia as part of a joint military exercise called Talisman Sabre, which has just ended in Queensland state.

Ospreys boost US Marines deployment in NT

GIANT birds of prey will hover the Territory’s skies as part of this year’s US Marines deployment in the Top End.

A number of Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft are heading to Darwin to quickly deploy the 1250 marines who will soon be calling the city home for the next six months.

The Osprey aircraft take off and land like helicopters but can fly like planes.

While the US Marine deployment will have the same number of personnel as the previous, the new rotation will have superior aircraft numbers supporting it.

As well as the Ospreys there will be five AH-1W Super Cobras and four UH-1Y Venoms.

The officer in charge of the forward co-ordination for Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, Lt. Colonel Matthew Emborsky, said the Osprey’s speed and distances it could operate in made it perfect for the Territory outback.

Last year the marines were supported by just four Huey helicopters.

The Ospreys will be based at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin and will become a regular feature in our skies.

“Bradshaw Field Training Area, where our marines drill, is an eight-hour drive from Darwin … the Osprey can get there in an hour,” Lt. Colonel Emborsky said.

US Marines ground fleet of Osprey aircraft in Japan

The U.S.A. Marine Corps has suspended flights of its Osprey aircraft in Japan after one of the planes crash-landed off the coast of Okinawa, injuring five crew members.

The crash triggered protests on Okinawa, where anti-U.S. military sentiment is already strong.

Many Okinawans were opposed to deploying the Osprey on the island due to safety concerns following a string of crashes outside Japan, including one in Hawaii last year.
The Mayor of Nago, Susumu Inamine, said: 'This is what we have feared might happen some day. We can never live safely here.'

More than half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are stationed on Okinawa under the Japan-US security treaty.