CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Military auditors are now investigating the performance and reliability of the V-22 Osprey aircraft, which is at the front of a pivot by U.S. forces to the Pacific despite being dogged by safety concerns and public controversy, according to the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General.
The IG announced in its monthly newsletter an upcoming audit on “whether the performance of the V-22 aircraft meets mission capability rate requirements, as well as how the frequency of repairs and the replacement of supply parts affects the V-22’s mission readiness.”
However, the military auditor told the Marine Corps Times newspaper that the results of the audit will be classified and not available to the public.
A 2009 audit by the Government Accountability Office found the Osprey fell short at times on availability due to repairs and on mission versatility while it was deployed to the Iraq war. Since then, the tilt-rotor aircraft, which can fly as an airplane or helicopter, has been put into service widely, including permanent deployments of two Marine Corps squadrons to Japan and a detail supporting air travel by President Barack Obama.
The deployment to Okinawa in southern Japan is allowing Marine Corps forces to fly farther, faster and carry more weight at a time when the region is concerned about the growing might of China. But the arrival of the aircraft on Okinawa also sparked public outcry and protests due to concerns of a crash in the densely populated areas that surround U.S. bases.