08:51 GMT04 December 2020
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    The US Navy announced that advanced models of V-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft will be attached to the USS Ronald Reagan deployed in the region to transport personnel, weapons and supplies in the event that the nuclear-powered supercarrier takes part in military operations in southeastern Asia.

    This July 28, 2008 file photo shows USS Freedom, the first ship in the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class.
    © AP Photo / Lockheed-Martin via U.S. Navy, File
    The Navy Ospreys, designated CMV-22Bs, will replace two Cold War-era C-2 Greyhounds, currently performing carrier onboard delivery (COD) missions for the USS Ronald Reagan. According to a US military official cited by the Japan Times, the replacements will begin as early as in 2021 and will continue into 2026.

    Earlier, the Navy announced plans to purchase 44 of the aircraft for COD missions. US Navy Naval Air Systems Command stated that the beginning of modified jet production was slated for 2018, with first deliveries scheduled for 2020.

    The CMV-22B is a high-speed jet/helicopter hybrid that can travel at airplane speeds and also hover to land and take off from a carrier deck.

    It was earlier reported that the Navy version of the Osprey would be capable of speeds of up to 351 mph and will have an 1,150 nautical-nautical-mile range, 200 miles more than that of an ordinary V-22.

    The C-2 Greyhound aircraft have been performing US military COD missions since the 1960s. The two jets awaiting replacement are currently stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi near Tokyo.

    However, after local residents complained of the noise created by US military jets in the area, C-2s were arranged to be transferred to a US Marine Corps air base in Iwakuni, in the Yamaguchi prefecture. Subsequently, the CMV-22Bs will be deployed there as well.

    Previous versions of Osprey, such as the Marine Corps MV-22, have been under fire for accidents that have killed 36 servicemen since 2007.

    The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is stationed at Japan’s Yokosuka Naval Base. It has recently conducted comprehensive drills aimed at improving combat readiness and developing strategic cohesion in the western Pacific, including in the South China Sea, which has been in the center of a heated territorial dispute.

    Conflicts in the South China and East China Seas continue to simmer between China and other regional powers, all of which make overlapping territorial claims. The diplomatic row and subsequent military buildup was fueled by a decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague stating that Beijing has no historical eights in the South China Sea.

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    Tags:
    C-2 Greyhound, CMV-22, V-22 Osprey aircraft, US Marine Corps, US Navy, East China Sea, South China Sea, Japan, US
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