The Osprey also called a fish eagle or sea hawk is a fish-eating bird of prey. Keeping the characteristics of the bird in mind, the manufacturers named their aircraft the Osprey. The plane has been in service for nearly two decades and has distinguished itself as a technical-savvy machine. Despite its long service with the military, questions about the air safety record of the aircraft have emerged. This followed the latest crash when an Okinawa based Osprey crashed into the sea while coming in for a landing on the aircraft carrier USS Reagan, resulting in the death of three Marines.

Previously, an Osprey crashed in Arizona in 2000 killing 16 marines. The three marines killed during the course of the crash have been identified as 26-year-old 1st Lt. Benjamin R. Cross, from Maine; 21-year-old Cpl Nathaniel F. Ordway, from Kansas; and 19-year-old Plc. Ruben P. Velasco, from Los Angeles. A US defense official has said that the marine technical team is carrying out a Technical Review of the plane which could lead to all the Ospreys being grounded reported

The Osprey

The Osprey is a unique plane and the only aircraft in the world to have two rotors on the extremities of its wings. These rotors impart lift capability to the plane and it can execute a vertical take-off and landing like a helicopter.

The plane can transport a platoon of 26 soldiers and overall is a versatile machine and much faster than a conventional helicopter.

The machine raised concerns in Japan when an Osprey coming in for a beach landing during an exercise crashed and broke up into a number of pieces but thankfully there were no causalities. After the incident Itsunori Onodera, the Japanese Defence Minister asked the US military to temporarily stop flying the aircraft until a proper technical review was carried out.

The American military agreed with this.

Technical evaluation

After the Arizona crash, a technical evaluation was carried out and all the snags removed. This crash, leading to loss of precious lives is a pointer that the plane may still have some inherent defects. Marines who have used the plane invariably praise the plane which is an important part of military action.

It was used by the commandos in Yemen when a raid by Navy Seals was conducted on mountain hideout but one of the Ospreys made a hard landing and three commandos were injured, while the plane had to be destroyed by the Seals.