21 July 2017

News Story: GSDF's deployment of Ospreys to Saga Airport likely faces delay

A US V-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor (File Photo)
The planned deployment of Osprey aircraft by the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) to Saga Airport in Kyushu is likely to be delayed, it has been learned.

The GSDF will be unable to begin V-22 Osprey flights in fiscal 2019 as scheduled even if the cost of acquiring necessary land is included in the budget request for fiscal 2018, because it will take a long time to improve the ground and build relevant hangars at the airport, according to a source close to the government.

The Defense Ministry plans to introduce 17 Ospreys by fiscal 2018, build a garrison at the western part of Saga Airport and deploy the aircraft there in stages.

The GSDF needs to obtain consent from the Saga Prefectural Government as well as local fishermen who own the land for the GSDF's planned facility.

Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi said the prefectural government will accept the deployment of Ospreys to the airport, saying at a news conference on July 13, "We're in a position to cooperate with the state in its defense policy."

Read the full story at The Mainichi