On Saturday afternoon, an Osprey which was based at the American base in Okinawa in Japan was lost as it hit the water while coming in for a landing on the aircraft carrier #Uss Reagan. The American flotilla is in Australian waters as part of a joint exercise with the #Australian Navy. Search and rescue teams from the carrier were activated and 23 of the occupants of the crashed plane were saved but three US servicemen perished. This is the second crash of an Osprey plane which costs upward of $2 million after the first crashed in Yemen after it made a hard landing and three soldiers were injured. The plane could not fly and had to be destroyed by gunfire.

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BBC World has reported this news.

The MV-22 Osprey

The MV-22 Osprey is one of the most advanced helicopters in the US inventory. This plane is like any conventional airplane with the exception that it has two rotors like a helicopter at the end of each wing which gives it the ability to take off and land vertically. It is a versatile plane and can carry 24 troops or passengers.

The Australian defense minister Marise Payne has spoken to her US counterpart General Mattis about the incident. She has confirmed that no Australian soldier has been killed. These accidents are taking a heavy toll of the US military as noncombat deaths are difficult to justify. Just last month 16 soldiers had lost their lives back home in the USA when a KC-130 had probably exploded in mid air.

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and crashed. Its wreckage was strewn over a wide area making the task of the investigation into the cause of the accident more difficult.

Investigation

The Osprey which ditched into the Sea of the Queensland coast was part of the Third Marine Expeditionary Force and had been certified air worthy. It had been positioned in Queensland from Okinawa to take part in the exercise. The US Navy will carry out an investigation but it is difficult to justify how a plane which was air worthy just failed to land on the aircraft carrier and ditched into the sea. Apart from the loss of the plane, precious lives have been lost for which there does not seem to be any justification.

The Osprey is not basically an aircraft meant for carrier operations and is mostly used in a combat role to support ground troops like in Yemen. The urgency to use it on a carrier like the USS Reagan needs to be explained.It is also not mentioned whether the crew of the Osprey had any prior experience of landing on the deck of a moving aircraft carrier.