Pentagon grounds all Ospreys, one week after deadly crash
Investigators suspect a “potential materiel failure” may have caused the Nov. 29 mishap off Japan.
The U.S. military has grounded its entire fleet of V-22 aircraft a week after eight airmen were killed in the crash of a U.S. Air Force CV-22 off Japan.
“Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential materiel failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time. The stand down will provide time and space for a thorough investigation to determine causal factors and recommendations to ensure the Air Force CV-22 fleet returns to flight operations,” Air Force Special Operations Command said in a Dec. 6 press release.
A “materiel failure” suggests that the crash was caused by something wrong in the aircraft, instead of a mistake by the airmen on board.
The Navy has also grounded its fleet of Ospreys, including the Marine Corps variant, according to a separate release from Naval Air Systems Command.
“The Joint Program Office continues to communicate and collaborate with all V-22 stakeholders and customers, including allied partners,” NAVAIR said.
Airmen of the 353rd Special Operations Wing were performing a “routine training mission” on Nov. 29 when the Osprey crashed off the shore of Yakushima, Japan. The remains of six airmen on board have been recovered, while two are still unaccounted for.
Japan grounded its own Ospreys after the crash and voiced concern about the aircraft’s safety.
The recent crash has raised fresh concerns about the aircraft, which has had numerous fatal crashes over the years. Air Force Special Operations Command grounded its Ospreys last year for two weeks because of “an increased number of safety incidents” involving hard clutch engagements. The Marine Corps did not ground its Ospreys at that time.