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US grounds V-22 Osprey fleet following fatal crash

The US military announced on Wednesday that it was grounding all of its Osprey V-22 tiltrotor aircraft, a week after one of the aircraft crashed off the coast of Japan, killing all eight US personnel aboard.

A preliminary investigation of the crash of the CV-22B Osprey off the Japanese island of Yakushima on 29 November indicates that it may have been caused by a materiel failure, the Air Force Special Operations Command said in a statement, meaning the problem was with the aircraft rather than crew member error. The underlying cause of the failure remains unknown.

Lieutenant General Tony Bauernfeind, head of Air Force Special Operations Command, has ordered an operational stand-down of the Air Force CV-22 fleet “to mitigate risk while the investigation continues.”

“The standdown will provide time and space for a thorough investigation to determine causal factors and recommendations to ensure the Air Force CV-22 fleet to return to flight operations,” the statement said.

The Naval Air Systems Command, responsible for both Marine Corps and Navy variants of the aircraft, said in a separate statement that it was grounding all V-22 Ospreys “out of an abundance of caution.”

The CV-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long-range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft. The mission of the CV-22 is to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces.

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