Japan Begins V-22B Flight Operations At Kisarazu Marking First International Partner to Fly The Osprey

A Japanese Self-Defense Forces V-22 begins flight operations at Kisarazu Air Field Nov. 6. (Image: Japan Ground Self Defense Force via Navair).

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.”

V-22 Ospreys bound for Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) units arrive in Japan at Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, May 8, 2020. The V-22 off-load marked the first time JGSDF V-22s arrived on Japanese soil. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Akeel Austin)

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.

A V-22 Osprey aircraft bound for the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) based at Camp Kisarazu prepares to depart Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, July 6, 2020. The ferry flight from MCAS Iwakuni marked the delivery of the first V-22 to the Japan Self Defense Force.(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Lauren Brune)

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.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.