The V-22 Osprey swivels, or tilts, two 38-foot rotors on its wing tips to take off and land like a helicopter and fly forward with the speed and range of an airplane.
Built by Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing, it is designed to transport 24 fully equipped Marines and has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A combined total of 30 people, including 26 Marines, were killed in test flights or training accidents from 1991 through 2000 during the aircraft’s development.
Only weeks after word emerged of plans to deploy to Okinawa, a V-22 crashed during a training mission in Morocco in April, killing two Marines.
Earlier this month, a Special Operations Command CV-22 Osprey crashed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, injuring five servicemembers.
Despite these mishaps, the Osprey has been one of the safest rotorcraft in the U.S. military since it went into service in 2007, according to Richard Whittle, author of The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey.
The Defense Department said it had provided preliminary findings from investigations of the two latest crashes at Tokyo’s request.
Based on the preliminary conclusions that the aircraft remains safe, and in close coordination with the Japanese government, the department said it had decided to move forward with the shipment.