WASHINGTON – Washington plans to deploy MV-22 Ospreys at the Futenma air station in Okinawa this fiscal year despite the recent crash of a similar aircraft in Florida, the U.S. Defense Department said.
“That is the intention. There has been no change in that (plan) so far,” John Kirby, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, told reporters Friday.
Kirby said the Pentagon will “completely and transparently” share the findings of an ongoing investigation into the crash with Tokyo and stressed that “the Osprey has a very good safety record,” noting the planes carry out operations daily in Afghanistan.
“We’re confident in the aircraft and its capabilities, and we look forward to discussing this issue with our Japanese counterparts,” Kirby said.
Asked how long the U.S. Air Force’s investigation into the Florida crash will take, Kirby said that depends entirely on the causes of the accident and their complexity.
“We’re very glad that there were no fatalities in this mishap,” he added.
A CV-22 Osprey crashed during training Wednesday evening in southern Florida, injuring five crew members and fueling safety concerns over the planned deployment of MV-22s to Okinawa.
The government said Thursday it will not be able to brief Okinawa residents on the deployment plan until the cause of the accident is made clear. Such a briefing is a precondition for the plan to be given the green light.