Japan's defense ministry is laying the foundation for introducing the Bell Boeing V-22 into its military operations by familiarizing its populace with the speedy tiltrotor.
The Japan Times reported that a U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey conducted operations Oct. 24 at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force camp in the city of Kisarazu so officials could assess noise from the aircraft's operations.
In a related move, that newspaper said, the defense ministry is planning Osprey demonstration flights near Saga airport in southwest Japan on Nov. 8 "to give the local government the opportunity to assess the proposed deployment of the aircraft at the site."
That demonstration, at the request of Saga Prefecture’s governor, also is aimed at assessing the V-22’s noise emissions.
Japan plans to start using the tiltrotor in stages beginning in early 2018, and they could begin operating from Saga in early 2019.
The Ground Self-Defense Force camp in Kisarazu, a city of 135,000 about 25 nautical miles southeast of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture, is to be used as a maintenance base for Ground Self-Defense Force and U.S. Marine Corps Ospreys. The newspaper said V-22s deployed at USMC Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture would undergo regular maintenance starting in January at the Kisarazu camp, with the work performed by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.
The municipal government and the assembly in Kisarazu have asked the defense ministry to measure Osprey noise levels to evaluate their impact on the environment, The Japan Times said.
In the demonstration there, the MV-22 circled over the camp and hovered above the runway while ministry personnel measured the noise, the newspaper said, adding that Ground Self-Defense Force pilots also flew a Boeing CH-47 over the base to compare noise levels.