International Security

Flight recorder found as Pentagon investigates deadly Osprey crash

Jan 12, 2024defenseone
Military’s entire fleet of V-22s remains grounded.

Crews have found the black box from the U.S. Air Force CV-22 that crashed off the shore of Yakushima, Japan, and killed eight airmen on board, an official said. 

The Pentagon grounded its entire fleet of Ospreys a week after the Nov. 29 crash. The fleet remains grounded and the body of the eighth airman on board has yet to be found, according to Air Force Special Operations Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Rebecca Heyse.

“Critical equipment identified by investigation officials has been recovered, including the Voice and Data Recorder, often called the black box. The equipment will be transported to laboratories for data retrieval with follow analysis of the data at AFSOC. We expect the analysis process to take several weeks,” Heyse said. 

Finding the black box is crucial for investigators because it collects flight data from the cockpit that may help determine the cause of the crash. Initial information indicated that the crash was caused by a “materiel” failure, AFSOC said in a Dec. 6 press release.

Crew members from the USNS Salvor have recovered most of the aircraft, which has been taken to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan to be inspected for the investigation, Heyse said.

The recent crash is the latest in a string of deadly crashes involving the Osprey, which was grounded by AFSOC in 2022 for two weeks because of “an increased number of safety incidents” involving hard clutch engagements. Last year, after the investigation into a deadly 2022 crash revealed the mishap was caused by a hard clutch engagement, the services implemented a time limit on the aircraft’s gearbox.