WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. will delay flight operations by Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys in Okinawa until the Japanese government agrees that the hybrid aircraft is safe.
Panetta told Pentagon reporters Friday that U.S. officials are completing a safety report and will provide Japanese leaders with details on two recent Osprey crashes. His comments came after he met here with Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto, who then left the Pentagon for a flight on an Osprey to the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va.
The tilt-rotor Osprey can take off and land like a helicopter but also has wings and can fly like a plane.
Panetta says the Osprey is critical for Marines in Japan, and the aircraft are being delivered to the U.S. base on Okinawa.