12 additional Ospreys to arrive at Japan`s Iwakuni base
Tokyo: The United States will ship a second batch of MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft to a US Marine air station in Iwakuni, western Japan, in late July prior to their eventual deployment at a Marine base in southern Japan`s Okinawa Prefecture, Japan`s Defense Ministry said Monday.
The 12 tilt-rotor aircraft, which will arrive at US Iwakuni Air Station between July 28 and 31, are expected to be additionally deployed at the US Marine Corps` Futenma Air Station in Okinawa in early August after undergoing test flights and maintenance, it said.
Twelve Ospreys have already been deployed at the Okinawa base since last October.
The Marines earlier planned to deploy a total of 24 Ospreys at the Futenma base by 2014 to replace ageing CH-46 helicopters.
The deployment of the aircraft, which can take off and land like a helicopter and cruise like an airplane, has sparked anger among Okinawa residents due to its track record of crashes.
Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima told reporters in Naha on Monday that he will continue to seek the cancellation of the Osprey deployment plan.
Akira Sato, parliamentary vice defence minister, will explain about the arrival of the second batch of Ospreys in talks with Yamaguchi Governor Shigetaro Yamamoto and Iwakuni Mayor Yoshihiko Fukuda later in the day.
The Okinawa Defense Bureau, a local unit of the Defense Ministry, will also provide an explanation on Monday to officials of the Okinawa prefecture and the city of Ginowan, which hosts the Futenma facility.
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