The Pentagon has grounded its entire fleet of V-22 Osprey aircraft after a fatal crash off Japan last week was reported to be due to a malfunction.
Air Force and Navy officials said they’ve taken steps to “mitigate risk while the investigation continues.”
Japan—which has also grounded its fleet of 14 Ospreys—had asked the U.S. military to temporarily ground the aircraft following the Air Force Osprey’s crash off Japan’s tiny island of Yakushima on November 28 with eight on board. So far, the bodies of six airmen have been recovered.
Eyewitnesses said the Osprey flipped over and was on fire before crashing offshore.
Ospreys are aircraft that can take off vertically like a helicopter before flying like a plane. More than 400 are currently in service worldwide, including 30 in Japan where roughly 50,000 U.S. personnel are stationed.
There have been a number of fatal Osprey crashes in recent years, including an incident during training exercises on an Australian island that killed three U.S. Marines and hospitalized eight others. In June 2022 five Marines were killed in an Osprey crash in the California desert.
Earlier this year, the Navy, Air Force and Marines grounded some of their Ospreys due to an ongoing issue with the tilt-rotor’s hard clutch.