IWAKUNI, Japan -- Three MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 landed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Dec. 6, 2014, to refuel and begin planning for support of Exercise Forest Light in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Forest Light is a routine, semiannual training exercise that enhances the readiness of the U.S. Marine Corps and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and is in accordance with the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.
Aircraft utilized during the exercise also include several Japanese planes and the CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter, which is currently being phased out by the MV-22.
“The Japanese have said that they want to buy the Osprey, so this helps them start to integrate and build on their (tactics, techniques and procedures) and help them start to build up for when they have their own Osprey,” said Capt. Ivan Morin, a pilot with VMM-265. “It helps the bilateral training that we’re doing since we help train them on how to integrate the MV-22 into their missions, and at the same time, we’re learning from them on how they operate and work with their aircraft.”
Morin mentioned that compared to CH-53, the Osprey can fly faster, quieter and farther. The higher altitude keeps the aircraft away from threats and makes it harder to detect visually and audibly.
Exercises such as Forest Light help to educate the Japanese on the capabilities and benefits of the MV-22, according to Morin.
“Education is the key to understanding what this aircraft can do, whether it’s responding to a threat or responding to humanitarian assistance and delivering goods to people who are in need, such as what we’ve done in the Philippines recently,” said Morin. “We hope that by being out here and doing this work with the Japanese, we can at least show the public what the MV-22 brings, capability wise, and how it would benefit them to have this aircraft.”