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Marines Show Off Controversial Osprey Ahead of Japan Training

Marines Show Off Controversial Osprey Ahead of Japan Training

The U.S. military spent Sunday and Monday showing off its controversial Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, which is set to begin its first air operations on the Japanese mainland this week. Japan’s second highest military officer was given an orientation flight in a Marine Corps Osprey over the weekend, while hundreds of Okinawans were given a rare on-base exhibition of the MV-22 squadron at the Futenma air station.

The hybrid aircraft, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, is becoming integral to the Marine Corps fleet and can fly farther, faster and carry more weight than the dual-rotor Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters it replaced on Okinawa last fall.

However, many Japanese have questioned the Osprey’s safety record, especially following two high-profile crashes last year. On Okinawa, protesters blocked the Futenma gates when the aircraft arrived and have held a vigil outside the base in the months since.

For the complete story by Travis J. Tritten of Stars and Stripes, click here.

Updated: March 4, 2013 — 10:56 AM

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