Test Flights Start for GSDF Osprey Aircraft at Kisarazu


Kisarazu, Chiba Pref., Nov. 6 (Jiji Press)--Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force started test flights of its Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft at Camp Kisarazu in the eastern prefecture of Chiba on Friday.

In the test, one of the two Ospreys provisionally deployed at the GSDF camp in the city of Kisarazu in July hovered in the air above the facility, marking the first flight in Japan of an Osprey owned by the Self-Defense Forces.

The GSDF will start flying the Osprey outside the camp from Tuesday while planning to begin test flights of the other aircraft shortly. The GSDF will spend about six months on the test flights to inspect the equipment installed on the Ospreys, including radio devices.

In Friday’s test, the Osprey rose to an altitude of about 7 to 17 meters around 11 a.m. (2 a.m. GMT), and then flew back and forth and tested other movements for about 10 minutes. “We will do all we can to ensure safety while steadily raising our capabilities,” GSDF Col. Satoru Fuwa, 46, head of an air transport unit newly created at the camp, said after the test. “We want to accumulate (experience of test flights outside the base) while gaining the understanding of locals.”

Citizen groups gathered near the camp to protest against the test flights. “I felt angry seeing the Osprey hover in the air,” Rie Kanamitsu, 57, from the city of Funabashi in the same prefecture, said. “We will continue demanding a halt to the test flights.”

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press