Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) began V-22 flight operations at Kisarazu Air Field. It’s the first international partner to fly the U.S. tilt-rotor aircraft.
On Nov. 6, 2020, the JGSDF kicked off flight operations with the first V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft at Kisarazu Air Field, in the Chiba Prefecture, Japan, becoming the first military outside of the U.S. to operate the Osprey.
Japan selected and procured the type through foreign military sales (FMS) in 2015. The first two aircraft, JG-1701 and JG-1705, were transported from the U.S. to Iwakuni via ship in May 2020. The first one (JG-1705) flew from Iwakuni to its new base at Kisarazu on Jul. 10, 2020. Overall, the JGSDF will receive 17 Osprey in the V-22B Block C variant, the same in service with the U.S. Marine Corps as MV-22.
“The JGSDF [Japan Ground Self Defense Force] is taking a big step toward integrating the V-22’s unique capabilities into its mission,” said Col. Matthew Kelly, program manager for the V-22 Joint Program Office (PMA-275) in a public statement. “Beginning with Japan’s selection of the V-22 in 2015, it has been an honor working with our international ally and partner to make this program a reality.”
The Japanese V-22B will operate as part of the JGSDF’s Transportation Aviation Group, officially activated on Nov. 3, 2020. The Osprey will undertake humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities and support amphibious operations increasing also the interoperability with the U.S. forces (both USMC and USAF) which operate the aircraft.
Since 2016, pilots, crew chiefs and maintainers with the JGSDF have been training with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron (VMMT) 204 and Navy Aviation Technical Training Unit at MCAS New River. Indeed, the overall V-22 community has supported the JGSDF ahead of the initial flight operation’s kickoff. “Within the last few months, the PMA-275 international team continued to work closely with the JGSDF, completing required maintenance and expediting spares and support equipment deliveries ahead of these initial flight operations,” says a Naval Air Systems Command release. “To make all of this happen, various members of the V-22 community came together including Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific, Bell Boeing and Rolls-Royce.”
Meanwhile, in the U.S. also the Navy is getting the Osprey, to replace the C-2A(R) Greyhound.
39 CMV-22 out of 58 Ospreys included in a 4.2B USD contract signed by the Pentagon in 2018 to fully replace the C-2 fleet. The first operational CMV-22B Osprey configured for the COD role was delivered to the U.S. Navy on June 22, 2020. The aircraft, registration #169437, is assigned to Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron 30 (VRM-30) “Titans” at Naval Air Station North Island. The Titans are the first CMV-22B squadron that was stood up in December 2018, a year before the first flight of the “CODsprey” (as some nicknamed the new aircraft), and they will receive 18 aircraft in total.