• Kyodo

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A shortage of skilled operations and maintenance personnel has delayed the deployment of U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft to Tokyo’s Yokota Air Base, the U.S. Defense Department said.

Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross said Wednesday that training experienced personnel for running the CV-22 enterprise has been progressing “at a slower pace than planned.”

“As a result, fielding the CV-22 in multiple locations at this time would inhibit the growth of crew members required to establish the Pacific Command unit,” Ross said.

“It would not be prudent to divide the experienced operations and maintenance personnel before they are established enough to operate in multiple locations” including Yokota, he added.

On Monday, the Pentagon said the delivery of the first batch of 10 tilt-rotor aircraft will be delayed possibly until the U.S. fiscal year through September 2020 from the originally scheduled July-September period this year, without providing details.

In May 2015, the Japanese and U.S. governments said three CV-22s will be deployed at the Yokota base in the suburbs of Tokyo in the second half of 2017, with the deployment of seven more by 2021.

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