Marine Corps plans to deploy Osprey aircraft to several U.S. military facilities in Okinawa

February 1, 2012, Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 31 the Marines Corps revealed that in addition to Futenma Air Station, they plan to operate MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing transport aircraft in the U.S. Central Training Area, which includes Camp Hansen and Camp Schwab, the Northern Training Area and Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield. They also indicated that Osprey would land at Kadena Air Base in cases of emergency. This is the first time that the Marine Corps has revealed the details of military facilities that would host the Osprey and this statement confirms that these aircraft would be deployed extensively in U.S. military bases in Okinawa.

When interviewed by the Ryukyu Shimpo that same day, a spokesman for Marine Corps Consolidated Public Affairs Office in Okinawa revealed the details of the environmental evaluation carried out in conjunction with the deployment of the Osprey in Okinawa. In addition to at Futenma Air Station, they have been carrying out environmental evaluations on Marine bases to which Osprey would probably be deployed and have given the specific names of these facilities.

The Marine Corps has initiated environmental evaluation reports and noise-related surveys within Okinawa and plans to complete the noise-related surveys by the end of February. They aim to complete the environmental evaluations, which include the results of the noise-related surveys, at the end of April. Among the items in the evaluations, they mentioned air stations and air space, land utilization, biological resources and cultural assets.

Although the Marine Corps stated that if they found significant negative impact in the environmental evaluation process they will report it to the country that hosts the U.S. military facilities, which of course in this case is Japan, they are unlikely to report any results in the evaluation that they do not judge as not having “significant impact.” While they confirm that 24 aircraft will be deployed, they state that they have not made the final decision on the schedule for deployment.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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