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Osprey ready for action, but safety remains paramount

Date Posted: 2012-07-27

The Pentagon’s number two man says “I take it very seriously, and I think the government of Japan and the people of Japan also take it very seriously, reiterating the U.s. plan to launch full flight operations with the MV-22 Osprey by Fall.

Deputy Defense Secretary Aston Carter says he’s giving top priority to ensuring the Osprey is safe before he gives the green light for flight operations. “I think that is entirely appropriate,” he says, adding Japan and the U.S. “have agreed that flight operations will not begin until reconfirmation on airworthiness has taken place.” Carter’s telling Japanese officials “we are committed to providing your airworthiness experts with all data, all of the information about the entire flight history of the V-22, including the two recent incidents, and allowing them to analyze that data.”

Carter is rejecting criticism that starting Osprey flight operations could endanger the Japan-U.S. alliance. “Safety concerns are not damaging to the alliance,” he says. “That’s a very legitimate thing and we need to address it. We will address it. We have a plan to address it,” noting “the process is a reflection of the strength of the alliance.”

Dozens of people have been staging a sit-in against the Osprey at Iwakuni, and equal numbers continue their anti-Osprey and anti-Futenma protests in Okinawa. At Iwakuni, a city assembly member claimed “the Osprey is structurally unstable” and called for cooperation between the two prefectures to block the deployment.

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