オスプレイ配備 政府は安全性の説明を尽くせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 12, 2012)
Govt must fully explain safety of Osprey
オスプレイ配備 政府は安全性の説明を尽くせ(7月11日付・読売社説)

It is important to evaluate and discuss the safety of the U.S. military's new transport aircraft in a coolheaded manner.

During his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the planned deployment of the U.S. Marine Corps' MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in Japan, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba asked Washington to provide information on the causes of two crashes earlier this year involving the aircraft.

While Clinton pledged the United States would conduct thorough investigations into the aircraft's safety and share the results with Japan, she expressed no intention of changing the plan to deploy the Osprey in Japan.

The United States should be given credit for its willingness to provide information to Japan. The Japanese government should collect information through such means as sending experts to the United States to closely examine the aircraft.


Opposition to deployment

Following the crash of an MV-22 Osprey in Morocco in April, a U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey crashed during an exercise in mid-June in Florida.

The United States plans to deploy the MV-22 Osprey at Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, after temporarily stationing them at the U.S. Marine Corps' Iwakuni base in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. However, local governments concerned have expressed their opposition to the deployment or temporary stationing of the aircraft, citing safety concerns.

We believe the government must thoroughly explain the aircraft's safety to these local authorities to gain their understanding as much as possible.

As the causes of the accidents were not attributed to problems with the aircraft themselves, the U.S. military has not prohibited the aircraft from flying or taken similar measures.

The shift from the CH-46 transport helicopters--which have been in operation for nearly four decades--to the new aircraft is not in itself a bad thing. Actually, from a safety standpoint, it would be more problematic to continue using the CH-46 for a long time.

The rate of serious MV-22 accidents resulting in death or damage of 2 million dollars or more is 1.93 per 100,000 flight hours. This rate is lower than the average rate of 2.45 for all marine corps aircraft.


Enhanced capabilities

The deployment of the MV-22, which boasts high capabilities in terms of maximum speed and flight range, among other features, would enhance the U.S. military's capability to conduct civilian rescue operations and disaster relief activities. The deployment also would help improve the U.S. forces' assault landing operations and increase deterrence capabilities. These factors cannot be overlooked.

In addition, the deployment would be in line with the U.S. military's strategy of increasing its presence in the west Pacific region to deal with the rapid rise of the Chinese military.

The United States plans to deliver 12 Ospreys to Iwakuni later this month, then transport them to Okinawa Prefecture. As the retirement of CH-46 helicopters is under way, the circumstances do not allow for impediments to operations of the U.S. forces.

Reports on the accidents in Morocco and Florida are expected to be compiled later this month and in late August, respectively. The Japanese and U.S. governments have agreed not to fly the MV-22 in Japan until the reports are completed.

This is an adequate decision. It is important to realize the deployment of the aircraft in accordance with this agreement and take sufficient measures to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 11, 2012)
(2012年7月11日01時40分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2012-07-13 07:14 | 英字新聞

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