US Military Grounds Entire Osprey Fleet After Latest Deadly Crash


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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The U.S. military grounded its entire fleet of V-22 Osprey aircraft on Wednesday one week after a deadly crash off the coast of southern Japan killed eight airmen, the latest in a series of alarming and fatal mishaps.

Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, the commander of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), directed the stand-down while an investigation into the Nov. 29 accident, then characterized as a failed emergency water landing, continued, according to a statement. The Navy and Marine Corps also chose to suspend flights of their versions of the Osprey, The Associated Press reported, after initial results of AFSOC’s probe turned up evidence that a fault in the aircraft itself, rather than pilot error, caused the crash.

“Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential materiel failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time,” AFSOC said in the statement. “The standdown 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.” (RELATED: Marine Corps Changes Emphasis On Safety After Series Of Deadly Accidents In One Month)

Japan also chose to ground its fleet of 14 Ospreys after the accident and reportedly asked the U.S. to do the same.

Naval Air Systems Command, which oversees the Navy’s CV-22 and Marine Corps’ MV-22 Ospreys, paused all flights in a separate statement, the AP reported. The Osprey is hybrid aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing, like a helicopter, but can travel forward at faster speeds like an airplane. The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps each operate versions of the Osprey.

Ospreys became operational in 2007, making it a relatively new platform in the U.S. military, according to the AP. However, more than 50 troops have died in accidents during flight testing or while conducting training flights since the aircraft was introduced.

The MV-22, a version of the Osprey the Marine Corps operates, has a known issue where the clutch engagement malfunctions that has likely contributed to several fatal accidents in the past decade. The Marine Corps completed a formal command investigation into a June 2022 accident, when five Marines on board an MV-22 Osprey crashed during a training exercise in the California desert, in April 2023 finding the potential issue.

In August, an MV-22 crashed in Australia, killing at least three of the 23 crew members and injuring others.

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