SAN DIEGO (AP) — A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft has made an unprecedented landing on a Japanese naval vessel off the California coast.
The tilt-rotor aircraft flew from San Diego’s Marine Corps Miramar Air Station to the Japanese ship Hyuga on Friday as part of an 18-day drill aimed at improving Japan’s amphibious capabilities.
The Osprey has sparked protests in Japan over concerns about its safety record. There were two crashes last year, in Florida and Morocco.
The Japanese government approved the deployment of 12 Ospreys in 2012 to Okinawa after receiving additional assurances from the Pentagon.
Military officials say the Osprey is critical for regional security efforts. The hybrid aircraft can take off and land like a helicopter. Marines demonstrated its versatility and speed Friday in an exercise that required coordination between the Navy, Marine Corps and Japan’s military members.