More facilities for Ospreys to be built

JIJI

The Defense Ministry plans to build facilities for the U.S. Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey aircraft at Self-Defense Forces bases outside Okinawa Prefecture, officials said.

Such facilities would allow the tilt-rotor transport planes to undergo maintenance on the mainland after flight training, without returning to the Futenma air station in Ginowan, Okinawa, the officials said Saturday.

The new facilities would make it easier to conduct drills using Ospreys outside Okinawa, in line with the prefecture’s call to transfer Osprey-related flights elsewhere to reduce its base-hosting burden, the officials said.

Currently, 22 Ospreys are deployed in Japan, all at the Futenma base.

Two of the Ospreys took part in a joint exercise between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Ground Self-Defense Force in Shiga Prefecture in mid-October.

A similar drill in Kochi Prefecture was canceled in late October due to the approach of a typhoon.

The Defense Ministry hopes to conduct Osprey-related drills with the U.S. military more frequently at locations other than Okinawa.