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Japan grounds Ospreys after U.S. Air Force safety concerns

The Ground Self-Defense Force has temporarily grounded its V-22 Osprey fleet based at a camp east of Tokyo after the U.S. Air Force halted flights of its fleet over safety concerns, the Defense Ministry said Saturday.
The suspension of flights for the tilt-rotor aircraft stationed at Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture came after the Air Force directed a "safety standdown" of its CV-22 fleet on Tuesday due to a clutch malfunction inside the plane's gearboxes.
The ministry's Kyushu Defense Bureau said it is confirming the details of the safety issues and doing additional inspections of the V-22 aircraft in Japan. No timeline has been given for when operations will restart.
Ospreys, which take off and land like a helicopter but cruise like a plane, have a patchy record of accidents and mishaps in Japan and abroad.
The aircraft have been deployed to Japan as part of the nation's efforts to improve its ability to defend its remote islands amid increasing instability in the Asia-Pacific region. Preparations in the southwestern prefecture of Saga are going ahead with a view to permanently deploying V-22s at a local airport.


© KYODO
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