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.
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.
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.
More than half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are stationed on Okinawa under the Japan-US security treaty.
Nearly three quarters of US military resources in Japan are located on the small archipelago to the south of most of Japan’s islands, and residents say they have long been inconvenienced by the base, which was constructed following the country’s defeat in World War II.