According to the Ministry of Defense (MOD), the accident rate of the U.S. Marines’ MV-22 Ospreys per 100,000 flight hours was 1.65 in September 2012, before their deployment on the Futenma Air Station, but this had increased to 2.64 in September 2015, according to the latest available data. However, this figure is on par with the overall Marine accident rate and is not exceptionally high compared to other U.S. military aircraft.
The Osprey is highly versatile and offers a long flight range. The Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) is planning to procure 17 Ospreys by FY18. It is coordinating with local governments near the Saga Airport on deployment after FY19. The MOD is promoting a “shift to the Southwest” policy to defend the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa in response to China’s growing maritime advances. It is planning to use the Ospreys for the transport of SDF personnel.
A senior SDF officer stated grimly: “The accident rate for other aircraft is also not zero. While accidents should not happen, the Ospreys will again be seen as ‘dangerous’.” (Slightly abridged)