The first international variant of the V-22 Osprey aircraft flew from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to the Kisarazu Air Field July 10, where the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) will now operate, train with, and maintain the aircraft.
Since 2016, pilots, crew chiefs and maintainers with the JGSDF have been training with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron (VMMT) 204 and Navy Aviation Technical Training Unit at MCAS New River.
The JGSDF procured the V-22 in 2015 through foreign military sales (FMS) to modernize its transport fleet and support its defense and special mission needs. The V-22s will enhance their humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities and support amphibious operations.
“This is an exciting moment in our partnership with the JGSDF; we have had the pleasure of working with them state-side to produce, develop, train and maintain their initial fleet of aircraft,” said Marine Corps Col. Matthew Kelly, program manager for the V-22 Joint Program Office (PMA-275). “This arrival marks a key step in standing up its V-22 fleet, and more importantly, the continued collaboration between our nations.”
The V-22 is the world’s first tiltrotor aircraft in production, combining the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft.
The Japanese V-22 is the first of the two aircraft transported from the U.S. to Iwakuni via ship in May. The second aircraft is expected to ferry to Kisarazu soon.
In addition to the JGSDF, the V-22 is critical to three U.S. branches of military, the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. For the U.S. Special Operations Forces, the CV-22 supports long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions. The Marine Corps’ MV-22B provides assault support transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment during expeditionary, joint or combined operations. The CMV-22B is the Navy’s carrier onboard delivery replacement aircraft, currently in flight test.
PMA-275 manages the cradle to grave procurement, development, fielding, sustainment and disposal of the tiltrotor program for the DoD and the JGSDF.