What’s going on?

on 8 February in Hokkaido completed joint exercises of land forces Japan and U.S. marine corps under the name of Northern Viper. Stationed at an air base in Okinawa American amphibious aircraft vertical takeoff Osprey MV-22 arrived at the base of the self defense force in Chitose with 8 days late and almost did not participate in the exercises, which are actually on the exercises and was like.

According to the explanations of the Ministry of defense of Japan, the reason for such a considerable delay, the aircraft began to “problems with its operation”. Japanese land forces spoke in more detail, linking this cause with “bad weather conditions”. However, at that time on the base adjacent to the new Chitose airport is a civilian aircraft took off and landed without any problems.

assuming fell into the hands of the author of “Manual for pilots” landing Osprey convertiplanes MV-22, then the arising of machinery difficulties are classified as the system — these American planes I’m afraid of low temperatures.

the”Delay” in 8 days

Japan-us joint exercises Northern Viper was held for the second time since August of 2017. In the winter they were held for the first time. Previous maneuvers took place on the American air base at Misawa in Aomori Prefecture. In connection with the statement of the American command that “since the Misawa air base is located on the Pacific coast and there are frequent fogs, the teachings on it could not be held in accordance with the plan”, this time the Japanese Ministry of defense gave for maneuver air base Chitose, located in the heart of the island of Hokkaido.

the Exercises began on January 22. Two CLreplay Osprey MV-22 was supposed to arrive in Chitose on January 27. The scenario, after a preliminary phase, they had to go to the main stage with a complex involvement of all regular forces.

But that did not happen. The movement of the Osprey convertiplanes MV-22 is reflected on the “home page” official website of the city of Chitose. It 24 Jan a posted notice that “two us aircraft Osprey MV-22 will arrive at the airbase self defense force in Chitose on January 27 to participate in the exercise “Northern Viper”. January 27, the site reported that the aircraft did not arrive. During the next few days it was reported that “the arrival of the convertiplane is delayed”.

In the end, the website was informed that 2 American aircraft arrived in Chitose, on 4 February, i.e. with a delay of 8 days. Both belonged to the 262-th squadron of medium convertiplane U.S. marine corps, stationed at the marine corps air station Futenma airbase on Okinawa. Convertiplane with serial number “ET02” arrived at noon and with the number of “ET03” — at 12.25 PM.

Why convertiplane needed to return?

In fact, according to information confirmed by a local group of volunteers-observers, two American convertiplane “ET01” and “ET02” January 27, landed at the base of the U.S. marine corps in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. There they were refueled and planned to fly at an air base in Chitose.

However, this did not happen. For some reason, January 30 machine number “ET01” returned to marine corps air station Futenma airbase, and from there to Iwakuni came another convertiplane “ET03”.

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After that, the aircraft was transferred to the base of the U.S. Navy in Atsugi, Kanagawa. 4 Feb from Atsugi he went to the airbase in Misawa, where they joined arrived from Iwakuni “ET02”. From Misawa, both aircraft went to Hokkaido in Chitose.

If you carefully analyze all of these moves American convertiplane, then the explanation about “bad weather conditions” do not climb in any gate. Many questions arise: why did it take the replacement of one of the heliplane? Why one aircraft was flown to base in Atsugi? And so on. As I tried to get answers to these questions, by e-mail not come the slightest hint of a response from the corps the U.S. marine corps.

in General regarding the use of the air base Iwakuni, the Osprey convertiplanes MV-22 municipality of the city of Iwakuni in recent times received information from the American military command, through the office of the self-defense forces on the island of Shikoku last year. Then it was reported that on August 24, 2019 at “Iwakuni arrive 4 Osprey tiltrotor MV-22”.

as for the current exercise Northern Viper, the operations division of the air base of Iwakuni once informed the mayor’s office about the arrival of two Osprey MV-22 and further questions about their movements answered only “no information”.

Here the thing is that the American Osprey convertiplanes MV-22 from an air base in Futenma in the past already twice suffered the accident, which killed 3 people. Do not stop cases of forced landings of these aircraft due to a failure in the engines. However, in terms of information about the movements of this technology, the public can only rely on capricious “good will” of the American side or on observers from the local citizens.

Flying the American convertiplane was very short

a surprise fact was that finally reached the air base Chitose American planes made here a very short flights.

February 5, two tiltrotor Osprey MV-22 at the same time rose in the air and in 5 minutes landed in training camp self-defense forces of Kittitas near Hokkaido University. One plane flew out at 10:13 and 20 minutes later landed at the air base Chitose. The other took off at 12:04 and landed at the same airbase in 32 minutes.

One of the planes again took to the air at 13:20 and 1 hour 35 minutes flying over the city of Tomakomai (near Chitose) and its surroundings, filling the air space with an incredible roar. By the way, in December last year, the city of Tomakomai city appealed to Hakadosh Department of the Ministry of defense of Japan with the request to exclude the flights of military aircraft over urban areas (especially at low altitude). As you can see, these requests have not yielded any results.

So that group both Osprey MV-22 flew only 5 Feb. The next day, one of them flew to a training camp self-defense forces of Kittitas and back (11 minutes). The second tiltrotor flew the same route on 7 February (10 minutes).

the Preliminary phase of exercise Northern Viper ended on 4 February. The scenario with 6 Feb landing convertiplane was to provide the main phase of the exercise is to transport infantry and to throw paratroopers. However, from February 6 until the end of the exercise, both of Osprey MV-22 doevery one “empty” the flight lasting only 10 minutes. And it can be called the participation of American military equipment in the integrated military exercises?

Osprey MV-22 afraid of low temperatures?

in front of me is the “user Manual for pilots” landing Osprey convertiplanes MV-22. All text, of course, is in English and is full of special cuts. However, with the help of experts eventually managed to understand it.

the “Guide” includes a special section entitled “the pilot’s Actions in case of signal indicator “low temperature” indicating the status of the drives from the motors to the screws.” Indicates that the operation of this indicator may indicate (1) about the “threatening the loss of aircraft lift force” (i.e. simply stating that he cannot continue the flight) and (2) requires the pilot of a possible emergency landing of the machine.

the guide also lists the reasons that make the operation of the heliplane impossible. (1) Failure of one or two de-icing devices on the propeller plane at temperatures below —150C; (2) failure of three anti-icing devices on the propeller plane at temperatures below —100C.

in short, we are talking about that “in the event of icing of the propellers of the engines of the tiltrotor its operation impossible.” In conclusion, the “Guide States that “prolonged flight in conditions of ice buildup on the front edge of the screws can lead to progressive icing. Thus it is possible to increasing the vibration of machine parts”. “Manual” cautions against the continuation of the flight without calling attentiontion on the icing of the tiltrotor.

In the upper echelons of the ground self-defense forces of Japan, where, allegedly, you know details about the technical characteristics of the Osprey convertiplanes MV-22, saying that “on these machines, and helicopters and planes, using modern anti-icing system. If they can fly even in Alaska, that is not to say that they cannot be used in zones of low temperatures.”

However, if we perform a graph of changes of meteorological conditions in Chitose, you can see that on the day of the expected arrival of both convertiplane 27 January, the temperature there was -14,40 With, and the next day 28 Jan -13,50 S. during the Next few days the temperature was increased to 00C, but in the day of the beginning of the comprehensive phase of the exercises she has fallen to very low -15,40 With, and the next day — even to -18,70 C. As the temperature at altitude is even lower, of course, was it too complicated for Osprey MV-22 conditions.

to Bear the expenses for conducting exercises Northern Viper had the Japanese side

Chihiro Sakamoto, Chairman of the “society of inhabitants of Hiroshima prefectural opposing the expansion and strengthening of the the U.S. marine corps in Iwakuni”, activists who continue the monitoring activity on the base, says: “the Osprey Convertiplanes MV-22 is often on the base in Iwakuni. But usually they don’t do it in the winter. So this is a special case. If you trace their way to the venue of the exercise Northern Viper, after Futenma in Okinawa they would be sufficient to refuel in Iwakuni and to continue the flight. But they why-that sat in the ACOGI and Misawa. Apparently, the pilots experienced a lack of confidence in the work in winter conditions”.

Part of the Osprey convertiplanes MV-22 in exercise Northern Viper’s happening within the Japanese-American agreement of September 1, 2016 on the transfer of the locations of their training camps. On the proposal of the Japanese side to alleviate the burden of the expenses of the administration of Okinawa for the maintenance of American military bases all costs on such transfer assumes the government of Japan.

this year, these expenses (including the costs of teaching Northern Viper) will be $ 28 million. Apparently, in what concerns the American Osprey MV-22 that participated in the exercise, the money went only to “pilot test” of their ability to fly in areas of low temperature.

Shigeru handa is a famous Japanese military commentator and journalist. Was born in 1955. Since 1991 worked in the newspaper “Tunity Shimbun”. Subsequently, a columnist and member of the editorial Board of the newspaper “Tokyo Shimbun”. Since 1992, led the coverage in the newspaper of military issues and relations with the office of the self-defense forces. In 2007 was awarded the main prize of the Japan Foundation “For peace and mutual understanding among journalists” (PCJF) for the book “the New war in Japan.” The author of numerous books on military issues: “the Will of the Japanese military pilot during the cold war”, “21 question to our self-defense forces”, “Will Japan fight?” etc.

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