WASHINGTON – A former U.S. Defense Department official who helped develop the Osprey aircraft has said their planned deployment to the Futenma air base in Okinawa is irrational, given their poor safety record.
“To put a machine like that . . . in a very, very densely populated part of the world in my view makes no sense and I’m not quite sure what military benefit you get out of it being there,” Lawrence Korb, assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1985, said.
Korb, now with the Center for American Progress think tank, indicated that while the safety of the Osprey has improved, he is “still doubtful” about the aircraft’s autorotation capability during an engine-out landing.
“It’s a weapon system that should never have been built,” he concluded. The former Pentagon official also stressed there is no urgent need to send MV-22s to the Futenma base, which is in a crowded district of Ginowan.
“If we’re in the middle of a war and the marines have to fly into Korea, that’s different,” Korb said. “But what’s the rush to do it now, and what does it give you that you didn’t have before? Not much.”
Guam funding in doubt
The Pentagon has called on Congress to approve funding for the transfer of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Of Defense Robert Scher said Wednesday that rejecting the budget for a second straight year “would have a negative effect on how we are perceived by our friends and allies.”