The American army announced on Wednesday that it was banning its Osprey aircraft from flying as a precaution after several fatal accidents involving it, the most recent having killed eight American soldiers in Japan at the end of November.
The head of the Air Force’s Special Operations Command “decided on an operational shutdown” of these military aircraft, which can take off and land vertically like a helicopter and fly like an airplane, a statement said.
Another navy statement said the decision also applies to its aircraft “as a precautionary measure.”
The air force’s decision was taken “to limit risks while the investigation continues” into the causes of the fatal accident off the southwest of Japan on November 29, notes the text.
“If the first elements of the investigation indicate that a material defect caused the accident, the underlying cause of this defect is not known to date,” said the press release from the special operations command of the ‘Air Force.
Grounding these aircraft, also called V-22s, “will free up time and space for a complete investigation to determine the causes and establish recommendations so that the Army’s CV-22 fleet “air can fly again,” he adds.
Following the accident of November 29, Japan (the only foreign country to have purchased them) suspended flights of its own Ospreys and asked the American army to do the same on Japanese territory, whose population takes a dim view of these devices.
Debris, believed to be part of the wreckage of a US Army Osprey aircraft, brought ashore at the port of Yakushima-cho, Kagoshima Prefecture, on November 30, 2023 in Japan / STR / JIJI PRESS/AFP /Archives
Several recent accidents, in addition to the one off the island of Yakushima, have brought to light questions about the reliability of this tilting rotor aircraft resulting from cooperation between the aircraft manufacturer Boeing and the helicopter specialist Bell.
In late August, three US Marines were killed in an Osprey crash in northern Australia, and by 2022, four more had died in Norway when their CV-22 crashed during air force exercises. NATO.
An American vehicle of the same type also crashed at sea in 2017 after hitting the back of a ship as part of American-Australian military exercises, killing three people.
At the end of 2016, the United States suspended the flight of its aircraft to Japan for a few days after an emergency landing off the coast of Okinawa and strong local protests.
In April 2000, 19 Marines were killed when an Osprey crashed in Arizona (Southwest United States).
More than 400 devices have been built in total, according to the Bell website, which specifies that it can fly up to 500 km/h.