As part of an effort to keep up with a fast pace in the Pacific, MV−22 Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 arrived at the Marine Corps Air Station at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, July 7, as part of a scheduled relocation, according to Marine officials.
The arrival of the Ospreys from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, marks “the beginning of VMM−363′s permenant stationing” in Hawaii, according to a press release. While at Kaneohe Bay, VMM−363 will serve under Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
“There have been multiple cases recently where the Osprey was, or could have been, very effective responding to a local crisis, and we look forward to increasing that capability with the new squadron,” Capt. Eric Abrams said to Marine Corps Times.
The Pacific Ocean presents a major obstacle to Marine forces, with its “tyranny of distance.” And as threats grow in the Pacific, the Corps is amid a focus shift. Marine Corps Times previously reported that the Corps wants to turn its Ospreys into air refueling tankers, in order to extend the range of other aircraft. And crossing the Pacific quickly will be key.
“Combined with 1st MAW refueling assets, MAG 24’s MV−22Bs are able to reach across the Pacific to respond to a crisis in a matter of days,” the Corps said this week in a press release.
Seven of the planes arrived in Hawaii on July 7, the first of a group of 12 Ospreys that will be transferred from Miramar, according to Stripes. The five remaining aircraft are expected to be transferred sometime later this month. The seven Ospreys arrived aboard the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard. The new infusion of the aircraft will double the number of Ospreys at Kaneohe Bay.
The original 12 arrived with VMM−268 in Hawaii two years ago, and some are used on a rotational deployment to Darwin, Australia.
“VMM−363′s capabilities will significantly enhance the Marine Corps' ability to perform humanitarian assistance and disaster response, respond to crises and fulfill other alliance roles in the Indo-Pacific region,” according to the news release.
The agreement provides for the manufacture and delivery of 39 CMV-22B aircraft for the Navy and 14 MV-22B aircraft for the Marines.