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Japan welcomes first V-22 Ospreys

V-22 Ospreys bound for Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) units arrive in Japan at Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, May 8. Photo: US Marine Corps

Japan’s Ground Self Defence Forces welcomed the first two V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, as they were offloaded at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on May 8.

The aircraft arrived in Japan aboard vehicle carrier Green Ridge, according to photos shared by the US Marine Corps.

Japan is buying a total of 17 aircraft as the first foreign customer for the Bell-Boeing built aircraft that incorporates vertical flight capability of the helicopter with the range of altitude airplanes. The US Navy awarded the first contract for five V-22s for Japan in 2015.

The aircraft were ready for delivery in 2018, but were delayed due to a dispute over their basing. Local communities where the aircraft had initially been scheduled to be based protested this, citing the V-22’s “poor safety record” as their main concern.

According to latest plans, the aircraft will be based in the Chiba prefecture temporarily while negotiations for a more permanent solution are ongoing.

The V-22 is currently in service with the US Marine Corps and the Air Force Special Operations Command. CMV-22B, another version of the Osprey, is replacing the C-2A Greyhound as the navy’s carrier onboard delivery aircraft.

Photo: US Marine Corps