Pentagon Grounds All V-22s for ‘Potential Materiel Failure’ After Crash off Japan

December 6, 2023 7:00 PM

A CMV-22B Osprey, assigned to the ‘Titans’ of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30, prepares to land on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) on Nov. 30, 2023. US Navy Photo
The Navy grounded its V-22 Osprey fleet following a deadly crash in Japan last week, Naval Air Systems Command said Wednesday.

The grounding went into effect on Dec. 6 and applies to all of the Navy’s variants, which include the Marine Corps MV-22B and the Navy’s CMV-22B. The CMV-22 is the service’s new carrier onboard delivery aircraft.

“Preliminary investigation information indicates a potential materiel failure caused the mishap, but the underlying cause of the failure is unknown at this time,” NAVAIR said in a statement.

“While the mishap remains under investigation, we are implementing additional risk mitigation controls to ensure the safety of our service members,” the statement continued. “The Joint Program Office continues to communicate and collaborate with all V-22 stakeholders and customers, including allied partners.”

The Japanese government raised concerns about the V-22 platform after asking the U.S. to suspend Osprey operations in Japan following a U.S. Air Force Special Operations CV-22B crash in the waters near Yakushima Island last week. Six bodies have been recovered from the crash and the U.S. military is still looking to recover the remaining two crew members.

This is the second grounding for the Navy’s Osprey fleet this year. The Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force grounded some of their fleets in February due to an ongoing issue with the tiltrotor’s hard clutch. That grounding came after the Air Force halted operations for its fleet in August 2022 due to the same hard clutch issue.

For the Navy and the Marine Corps, the grounding will affect the forward-deployed Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group. The three-ship Bataan ARG is embarked with the MV-22Bs flown by the “Golden Eagles” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 162, which is attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The MV-22s are mostly aboard USS Bataan (LHD-5), which is currently in the Red Sea. The ARG/MEU is split between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea in case of an emergency evacuation should the conflict in southern Israel spread to other parts of the region.

A Marine Corps spokesperson acknowledged a USNI News request for more information but did not provide a statement.

Navy CMV-22B assigned to the “Titans” of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 are responsible for logistics flights on and off USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), which is currently off the coast of Okinawa. A Navy spokesperson acknowledged a Wednesday request by USNI News request for more information but did not provide a statement.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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