Washington DC [US], December 7 (ANI): The US military will be grounding its entire fleet of V-22 Ospreys, a week after the crash incident in Japan resulted in the deaths of all eight aboard, CNN reported.
Air Force Special Operations Command said in a release on Wednesday evening that Lt Gen Tony Bauernfeind, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), directed an “operational standdown” of the Air Force’s CV-22 fleet “to mitigate risk while the investigation continues” into last week’s crash.
Naval Air Systems Command also said that it was grounding the Navy and Marine Corps V-22s out of “an abundance of caution” as the CV-22 crash is investigated.
“Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential material failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time,” CNN quoted a Navy news release as stating.
Meanwhile, immediately after last week’s crash, the government of Okinawa Prefecture in Japan requested that all Ospreys on the island chain be grounded. The Pentagon, however, said it had not received an official request to ground the Ospreys.
“I’m not tracking an official request received here at the department,” deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh said last week. “I’ve seen some of the comments that you just referenced. Right now, the Ospreys are still operating in Japan.”
Singh added that there is a “true commitment to safety” in the Pentagon “when it comes to any airmen operating any aircraft.”
“If the investigation concludes that there need to be additional steps taken, we’ll … certainly do that, but at this time, the investigation is underway on what happened,” CNN quoted her saying.
The Osprey was conducting a “routine training mission” at the time of the crash, AFSOC said, which is still under investigation.
The aircraft has had a history of operational and mechanical issues, though, and has been involved in several fatal incidents over the last 30 years. Just months ago, in August, three US Marines were killed in an MV-22 Osprey during a military exercise in Australia, according to CNN.
Earlier in March 2022, four US service members were killed in an MV-22 crash during a NATO training exercise. A few months later, five Marines died in a training mission crash in California.
Variants of the V-22 Osprey are used by several services — the MV-22 used by the Marines, CV-22 used by the Air Force, and CMV-22 used by the Navy – as well as Japan’s Ground Self Defense Force, which uses the Japan MV-22, CNN reported.
“With its rotors in a vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, it can convert to a turboprop aeroplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight,” Boeing’s V-22 information page says. “This combination results in global reach capabilities that allow the V-22 to fill an operational niche unlike any other aircraft.” (ANI)