Distinguished visitors tour MV-22
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — More than 140 Ministry of Foreign Affairs guests, media and Japanese officials arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Japan to participate in an MV-22B Osprey orientation event as part of the MV-22B Osprey introduction to Japan Sept. 27, 2012.
Visitors were given the opportunity to see the ins and outs of the MV-22B Osprey, receive a capabilities briefing, view a static display, and participate in an orientation flight.
“The importance of showing this aircraft to our host nation visitors is really to reassure them of the aircraft capabilities and safety features as well as the proficiency of our aircrew that fly them,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher S. Owens, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general. “It’s also a chance to demonstrate the tremendous capability this aircraft can bring both to the Marine Corps in Japan but to the alliance as well.”
The flight demonstration allowed visitors to see the capabilities of the MV-22B during flight operations.
“The MV-22 flies in what we call ‘airplane mode’ with the nacelles tilted forward in forward flight,” said Owens. “The aircraft uses VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] mode to gain a hover and conversion mode to move forward and move into fixed wing mode.”
The majority of flight operations conducted by the Osprey will be in fixed-wing mode while the helicopter, VTOL and conversion modes would primarily be used during takeoffs and landings and when the aircraft operates in training areas and landing zones.
Although the aircraft would operate in helicopter and conversion modes as it moves in and out of MCAS Futenma airspace and traffic patterns, all operations would be focused on minimized noise and safe execution.
“We’re really anxious to get this aircraft down to Okinawa and integrate with the rest of [III Marine Expeditionary Force],” said Owens. “The capability it provides is beyond anything that we’ve had before and we’re anxious to put it into action. We understand there are concerns about the aircraft amongst the local populace and we take that seriously, but we do believe the best thing will be to put the aircraft into action and let them see just how capable and how safe it is.”
The Marine Corps will modernize its fleet with MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft and remove CH-46E helicopters from service on a one-to-one basis.
“In addition to replacing them, the capability this aircraft brings is truly revolutionary,” said Owens. “It has twice the speed, three times the payload and four times the range of the CH-46E,” said Owens. “It’s going to open up large portions of the Pacific theater that we simply couldn’t reach before.”
A second squadron of 12 aircraft is scheduled to arrive at MCAS Futenma during the summer of 2013.