Always Investigating has been digging deeper to find out more about the MV-22 Osprey.
The Osprey that crashed at Bellows was based in San Diego, but the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base also received Ospreys back in 2012.
The base was scheduled to get 24 of them.
This Osprey is billed as having the speed of a turbo-prop airplane and the ability to move and tilt like a helicopter.
It’s currently being used in overseas military missions as well.
The Osprey was in testing for years and during testing, there were crashes that killed 30 people.
Subsequently, a series of performance enhancements were incorporated to improve safety.
Fatal and costly crashes continued in the years after testing was done and deployment was underway.
Many call today’s incident in Hawaii tragic, though, not surprising. Some say it’s unlikely to change the course of the Osprey program especially in the Marines.
At the tail end of more than a decade of training, a fatal Osprey crash that killed 19 in the year 2000 brought a program pause, congressional inquiry, technical review and some redesign, but within years the program was operational and the $100-million-a-piece aircraft were rolling through production.
While critics said such things as “these aircraft should never have been purchased without resolving design problems and safety hazards,” the Marine Corps went essentially all-in, ordering hundreds and phasing out its other helicopters.
The fatal crashes slowed but didn’t stop. Many in Japan protested before Ospreys went to the U.S. base in Okinawa a few years ago.
“Most of the problems with this aircraft took place within the 10-year testing period,” said Dr. John Hart, Hawaii Pacific University’s Department of Communication Chair. “It’s been a relatively safe aircraft since it’s been operational in 2007. The Japanese currently like this aircraft, we have put them on this aircraft. This is a tragedy but I don’t see this being a foreign policy issue .”
Always Investigating asked if Hart believes that this might change how we approach or welcome training here in the islands?
“No, I don’t think so, sadly these kind of things happen, this is why you close sets off to the public while you are training,” answered Hart. “Since it’s been operational there have only been approximately three crashes, one of them in combat. This is a relatively safe plane. It’s the best copter they have.”
The program is still the subject of controversy especially after the Department of Defense’s own Inspector General flagged safety and readiness concerns, saying Marine Corps squadron commanders reports on the V-22 were incomplete or inaccurate and concluded, “Senior DoD and Marine Corps officials could have deployed MV-22 squadrons that were not prepared for missions.”
Always Investigating will continue to keep track and report back on any changes or pauses of Osprey operations at the armed forces bases here in Hawaii in the wake of today’s incident.
The Hawaii Air National Guard at this time does not have the Ospreys in its fleet and does not train on them.