A relatively brave and sensible decision from Japan. Until the Americans can explain what caused the crash of their — notoriously unreliable — V-22 Osprey aircraf off the coast of Australia Japan has asked the US not to fly their death traps over Japan:
Japan has asked the United States to refrain from flying U.S. Marine Corps Osprey aircraft in Japan after one of the tilt-rotor planes crashed off Australia, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Sunday.
“We will continue to ask the United States (to refrain from flying Ospreys) until we receive a solid explanation” about the accident, Onodera told reporters after an Osprey crashed off the coast of Queensland state Saturday, leaving three U.S. Marines missing.
US has a number of these aircrafts stationed at their Marine Corps base on Okinawa, where the Americans are unwelcome as it is — as far as the locals are concerned just on the account of militarism, noise and the conduct of the US troops off base.
In this recent mishap, they managed to cram 22 Marines (with four aircrew) into a V-22. Allowing 250 lbs for each passenger with his weapon and gear, that is 5500 lbs. This was too heavy, so when the V-22 left the deck and lost its “HIGE” air cushion, it began a slow descent and hit the water; 23 Marines were rescued and three drowned as Marines struggled to exit the crowded fuselage. In the past, pilots managed to recover once they got HIGE from the sea. There were several incidents where a V-22 splashed into the water before getting airborne. This is possible because a V-22 at full power is burning lots of fuel and becoming lighter every second.
Another V-22 crashed this January on a Navy Seals mission in Yemen that was imagined as a blow to al-Qaeda but ended up a bloody massacre of Yemeni villagers.
Yet another V-22 crashed last December off the coast of Okinawa. The Pentagon claimed the aircraft “crash landed” into shallow sea more than five miles off the coast intentionally, as a “precaution” — so as to avoid flying over Japanese settlements after suffering a malfunction during aerial refueling.
After this crash Tokyo also demanded the US grounds the Ospreys until cause of the crash was found and fixed.
V-22 is an expensive ($70-80 million) piece of junk that is dangerous to its crews, allies and civilians nearby, and does virtually everything it is supposed to do worse than the older, cheaper and more reliable aircraft it replaces.
It is a very good illustration of how corruption works in the US — the corruption, the military-industrial complex, is the system.
Japan has done very well to show a semblence of a backbone and demanded the US grounds these planes, at least temporarily. But the V-22 sadly tells another story as well — that of Japan’s own corruption.
Despite such misgivings, the Japanese government itself ordered 17 of these death traps in 2014 and is set to begin receiving them this year. An actually couragagous Defense Ministry would have cancelled the orders.
The US has 350 of them with the Marines, 50 with the Air Force, and another 50 on the way for the Navy.