Futenma Osprey deployment could upset China

Six MV-22 Osprey aircraft arrived at Futenma on Monday, followed by three more on Tuesday, Altogether 12 are scheduled to be deployed. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Mike Granahan)

Experts say the deployment of the U.S. Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey aircraft to Okinawa could upset China as the plane will make it possible for the Marines to send troops quickly to coastal areas around the East China Sea.

On Monday, six MV-22 Ospreys, vertical take off and landing aircraft that boast a far superior flight performance capability than the CH-46 helicopters currently being used on Okinawa, arrived at Futenma Marine Corps Air Station. China has already sent signals of opposing the U.S. Department of State’s position that the East China Sea islands at the center of a Sino-Japanese territorial row, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are covered by a provision in the Japan-U.S. security treaty that obliges the United States to defend Japan in the event of an armed attack on territories under Japan’s jurisdiction. As China considers Senkakus a part of its own territory, it sees that whatever happens there is its internal matter, to which no outside powers have right to interfere.

The deployment of the Osprey, which will replace the CH-46 helicopters, is expected to add to Beijing’s anger.  Six more MV-22 Ospreys are set to be deployed at the Futenma base in the coming weeks. The total of 12 Ospreys were transported to the Marine Corps’ Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, from the United States in late July ahead of their deployment to Futenma.  “The Osprey will enable us to more effectively perform humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations and fulfill other roles critical to the U.S.-Japan alliance,” U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at a press conference when he visited Tokyo in mid-September.

The aircraft is “important to the defense of Japan,” providing twice the speed, three times the payload and four times the range compared to the CH-46 helicopters, he said.
The Osprey’s combat radius, or the maximum distance that it can reach and return after completing a combat mission, is about 600 kilometers, far more than 140 kilometers for the CH-46.  This means that the Osprey can be sent to areas above waters near Senkaku islands, which are some 410 kilometers from Okinawa’s main island. Recently, patrol vessels of the Chinese government have been spotted frequently in these areas.

The Osprey has an aerial refueling function, and a single refueling using the function extends its combat radius to 1,100 kilometers, enabling the aircraft to cover Seoul, Taiwan and East China Sea coastal regions of China including Shanghai, where the Chinese navy has a key base, and Zhejiang Province, according to sources in the U.S. military. Once the deployment is complete, the Marine Corps plans to conduct exercises in which the aircraft will fly at a low altitude at night and send troops, assuming possible emergencies in the Taiwan Strait and on the Korean Peninsula.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexander.sanchezjr.7 Alexander Sanchez Jr

    Let China get mad. If they are going to say that no one has any business in the way they deal with their neighbors’ claims to land, then China has no business in what deployment of forces the US and Japan make. China is becoming a spoiled brat because it thinks it can push it’s weight, & military, around to get what it thinks it’s entitled to, regardless of international law. The last Asian country that thought that was Japan, and the end result was the Pacific campaign of World War Two. China likes to make big claims to everything and claim no one has a right to interfere, but then want’s to claim the legal legitimacy of documents it says gives it the right to make such big land grabs, but when laws don’t favor it’s position, then it makes aggressive moves like moving troops and creating new prefectures that it claims are legal. China is going to push the pacific region into another war if it doesn’t stop pretending to be the Japan of the 1930’s.

  • Miyagi Chatan Cho

    So China is mad about the CV but what about all the other aircraft and military bases that have been on Oki for years? Interesting how this is now an issue; I’m assuming another propaganda trick to get the local’s hyped up over another the CV coming to Oki.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Harper/1485921764 Ken Harper

    China won’t have any worries over this. They are well aware of how unsafe the MV-22 are. Give the MV-22 6 months & they will start to malfuction & crash. 19 Americans have lost their lives so far.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Harper/1485921764 Ken Harper

    Let Leon Panetta come to Okinawa & take a couple flights on the MV-22’s

  • http://www.facebook.com/JDKeeling J.D. Keeling

    http://defensetech.org/2011/09/07/mv-22-brings-the-secdef-to-nyc/

    Ken, he has quite a few times. You should get your facts straight.