MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA — Fourteen members of the Japan House of Representatives and Senate visited various facilities at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Dec. 9 during an MV22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft orientation tour.
The station regularly hosts educational displays featuring the Osprey, allowing distinguished visitors and members of the community an opportunity to improve their knowledge about the aircraft’s capabilities.
The delegates first went to the Marine Aviation Training System Site to receive a briefing on the capabilities of the Osprey and participate in a question and answer session.
“It is very important for us to give these orientations to our Japanese counterparts and address any concerns they may have,” said Col. Robert P. Cote, the chief of staff for Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “These orientations allow us to talk about the Osprey in greater detail, and it lets us show them that the Osprey’s capabilities far exceed those of the CH-46E (Sea Knight helicopter). We just saw how flexible the Osprey is when we sent it to the Philippines for Operation Damayan, and it is this knowledge we want to pass to them.”
Some of the capabilities discussed included the maximum altitude, speed and load capacity of the Osprey. They also discussed various troop insertion and extraction techniques, which weapons systems the Osprey uses, and its flight range.
“The Marines conducting the briefings were very professional and effective in giving us the information,” said Hiromu Nakamaru, a member of the Japan House of Representatives. “It helped me understand the differences between this aircraft and the CH-46.”
After the briefing, the delegates traveled to the Osprey flight simulators where they had the chance to pilot a simulated aircraft for a short time.
“By far, the simulator has been the best part,” said Nakamaru. “If I had the time, I would be here all day to better understand how (the Osprey) operates.”
After the simulator, the delegates visited the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 hangar to get a hands-on tour of an actual Osprey. During the tour, they sat in a cockpit, viewed the inside of a fuselage, and interacted with the pilots and crewmembers assigned to the aircraft. VMM-262 is part of Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“Everything we do is to give them better insight on the impact we have in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Cote.
At the end of the orientation, the delegates left the air station with a greater respect for Marines and their aircraft, according to Nakamaru.
“Everything we have done here today has impressed me,” said Nakamaru. “I’ve been impressed about the technology on the aircraft, and with the Marines who assisted us today.”