The U.S. Navy has formally opened the first, Japan-based, depot-level MV-22 Osprey repair facility at Camp Kisarazu, a Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) operated air field. Members of Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific (FRCWP), along with Japanese city officials, industry executives, and self-defense force leaders, performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony on 12th January.
The hangar bay facility, under contract with Fuji Heavy Industries, will play a key role in maintaining the entire forward-deployed Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey fleet.
As well as ensuring the long-term sustainment of the Marine Corps aircraft, Japanese technicians will gain important experience on working with the aircraft. The JGSDF is in the process of procuring seventeen V-22 aircraft, of which five have been formally ordered to date. Japan is the first export customer for the Bell-Boeing tiltrotor.
Once depot-level maintenance begins at the facility, FRCWP, which is based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, will provide oversight, engineering support, material, and technical data for the life of the contract.
Training for the Japanese aircraft maintainers has been provided by the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), and is expected to continue mid-January, with the first Osprey to undergo depot-level maintenance shortly thereafter.
The inauguration of the new facility comes one month after a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 ditched in shallow water off the coast of Okinawa following an incident during a night-time aerial refuelling operation. The crew sustained minor injuries.