The Marine Corps plans to bring Ospreys to Okinawa, Japan, in the future. However, before that happens, the Marine Corps wanted to demonstrate the aircraft to the Japanese officials.
Some of the people who witnessed the demonstration included the Marine Corps commandant deputy of aviation, the Japanese ambassador and the Japanese Minister of Defense.
“The Japanese (officials) want to see what this aircraft can do,” said Maj. John M. Ennis, VMM-266 executive officer. “They want to see what it can do, how safe it is and how much noise it makes.”
Ennis said many Japanese officials were concerned about bringing the aircraft to their country because they thought it might be loud and disruptive. The demonstration showed them the Osprey can be quiet, as well as effective.
“When the Osprey is in airplane mode, it has the ability to fly higher and with less disruptive noise than many other helicopters,” said Ennis.
Marines with VMM-266 conducted the demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. They used four Ospreys to transport the officials while conducting simulated flight operations.
“We didn’t do anything too tactical,” said Ennis. “We just wanted to show them what the aircraft was like while conducting various flight patterns.”
Ennis said the flight patterns used will reflect the kind of flights they would do over Okinawa.
The squadron flew four Ospreys for more than six hours to showcase the safety of the MV-22B.
“If the Japanese (officials) can see that we’re using the same aircraft for an extended period of time, they will see Ospreys will be safe to fly in the Pacific.”
Ennis said one of the primary reasons why the Marine Corps is transitioning the Osprey into Okinawa is the aircraft’s effective range.
“Having the Osprey in the Pacific will increase our range and therefore our presence in that part of the world,” said Ennis.
Ennis said following World War II, Japan has maintained a purely defensive force.
“If any offensive action is ever needed in that part of the world, we are the ones who would do it,” said Ennis.
Story by Lance Cpl. Martin Egnash