DH - Defence Helicopter

USMC Osprey lands on Korean amphibious ship

31st March 2015 - 14:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A US Marine Corps (USMC) MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft landed on the South Korean Navy helicopter carrier Dodko on 26 March.

This marks the first landing of an USMC Osprey on a South Korean amphibious ship, and the successful landing also certifies the aircraft to land on the country's amphibious ships.

The Osprey took off from the USS Bonhomme Richard nearby and is part of the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (Reinforced) of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. Its landing was the first event in the week-long Korean Marine Exchange Program 15.1 bilateral exercise.

During this exercise, around 2,200 USMC and 2,000 US Navy personnel will work with 3,500 Korean Marine and Navy forces. The militaries will integrate key staff planners to improve their combined amphibious capabilities during several training events. The Ospreys are scheduled to play a major role in support of the exercise.

Maj. Bryon DeCastro, USMC Korea liason with the Korean 7th Air Force, said: 'The Osprey is our primary (assault support) aircraft.

'Given our longstanding alliance, it only makes sense to get (the Osprey) on board with the Korean ships.'

Maj. David Shearman, co-pilot of the Osprey, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, said: 'Landing our Ospreys on the (Dokdo) for the first time gives us more flexibility in how we operate together and how we integrate our forces.

'The Osprey landing was for integration and so future plans can be implemented easier.'

He added: 'This will also prove the concept that we can operate with the Koreans more efficiently and it will make future operations with them a little bit easier.'

DeCastro added: 'From this point on MEU planners and MEF planners, or anyone who is going to do anything with the Koreans dealing with ships and Ospreys, can look at a document showing (the Osprey) listed and this will speed up the planning process.'

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