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Marine Corps' versatile Osprey aircraft to make debut in Hawaii skies

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 2:47 p.m. HST, Aug 26, 2013

The Marine Corps’ distinctive MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft will make its first appearance Wednesday over Hawaii as the USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group heads through the region on a deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East, officials said.

The 57-foot-long aircraft have twin 38-foot propellers that allow the Osprey to take off like a helicopter and fly like a conventional plane with the blades rotated forward. Ospreys can carry 24 Marines twice as fast and five times farther than previous helicopters.

The aircraft should be visible flying Wednesday, although where they will be flying in the Hawaiian Islands still is being worked out, the Marine Corps said.

By Thursday, four of the aircraft will be on the flight line at the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay. The aircraft also may be visible in the islands Friday and Saturday as well, the Corps said.

The Boxer, USS New Orleans and USS Harpers Ferry, with 2,400 Marine from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, left San Diego Friday for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. The Boxer is the first West Coast ship to deploy with the Ospreys, the Navy said.

Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, commander of Marine Forces Pacific, said in January that two squadrons of Ospreys, a total of 24 aircraft, are scheduled to be based at Kaneohe Bay in fiscal 2015 and 2016.    

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