US to Deploy Troubled Aircraft to Okinawa

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 2:40 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. military says it will deploy a controversial aircraft to an airbase in southern Japan by late 2012.

A Defense Department spokesman says the V-22 Osprey aircraft will replace helicopters currently in use at the U.S. Marine Corps's Futenma Air Station based on the southern island of Okinawa.

U.S. officials are stressing the safety and reliability of the aircraft. However residents in densely populated Okinawa oppose the use of the planes, which suffered four separate crashes killing about 30 people between 1991 and 2000.

The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft designed to take off like a helicopter and fly like a propeller plane. The aircraft has been plagued by numerous cost overruns and performance problems since it was first designed in 1982.