The U.S. military announced late Wednesday all of its Osprey V-22 aircraft have been grounded until further notice, one week after eight Air Force Special Operations Command service members died in a crash off the coast of Japan.
Hundreds of the multi-mission, tiltrotor aircraft will be affected as operated by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, in domestic and foreign theaters around the world.
AP reports a preliminary investigation of last week’s crash indicated a materiel failure — that something went wrong with the aircraft — and not a mistake by the crew led to the deaths.
The fatal crash raised new questions about the safety of the Osprey, which has been involved in multiple fatal accidents over its relatively short time in service, as Breitbart News reported.
Japan grounded its fleet of 14 Ospreys after the crash.
Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, head of Air Force Special Operations Command, ordered the operational stand down of the Air Force V-22 fleet “to mitigate risk while the investigation continues.”
“The stand down will provide time and space for a thorough investigation to determine causal factors and recommendations to ensure the Air Force V-22 fleet to return to flight operations,” he outlined in an official statement.
The Naval Air Systems Command, which is responsible for both Marine Corps and Navy variants of the aircraft, said in a separate statement it too was grounding all V-22 Ospreys “out of an abundance of caution.”
The litany of past fatal accidents involving the aircraft is long.
Four U.S. Marines were killed in Norway last year when their MV-22B Osprey aircraft went down during NATO training exercises.
Three Marines were killed in 2017 when an Osprey crashed after clipping the back of a transport ship while trying to land at sea off Australia’s north coast.
In 2016, an MV-22 Osprey crash-landed off Okinawa, prompting the U.S. Marines to temporarily ground the aircraft in Japan after the accident sparked anger among locals.
And 19 Marines died in 2000 when their Osprey crashed during drills in Arizona.