Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — The MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft’s accident rate surged about 1.7-fold after its deployment at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, it was learned on Wednesday.
The incidence of serious accidents involving MV-22 Osprey transporters came to a worst-ever level of 3.27 per 100,000 flight hours at the end of September, against 2.72 for all aircraft of the marines, according to Defense Ministry officials.
As of April 2012, before the Osprey deployment at the Futenma base, the Osprey accident rate was 1.93, below the marines’ average at 2.45.
“A recent rise in tough drills and missions may be one reason,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said.
The Japanese government “will proceed as planned” with the introduction of Osprey airplanes to the country’s Self-Defense Forces, Onodera added.
There were 10 serious accidents involving the MV-22 Osprey between October 2003 and September this year, with three of them in the last year, including a crash off the coast of Okinawa Prefecture in December.
The marines explain that Ospreys have often been operated in harsh circumstances where other aircraft could not, according to the ministry officials.