- DEFENSE & SECURITY
Construction of GSDF Osprey Facility Starts in Saga
13:28 JST, June 13, 2023
SAGA — Construction of a facility for the planned deployment of Ground Self-Defense Force Osprey transport aircraft has begun at Saga Airport.
The Defense Ministry expects the construction to be completed by July 2025 and 17 Osprey planes will be transferred to the new facility, which will occupy about 33 hectares of land situated northwest of the airport in Saga City.
Some of the Osprey planes that will be deployed at the facility are currently stationed at GSDF Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture.
In addition, about 50 helicopters will be transferred to the new facility from GSDF Camp Metabaru in Yoshinogari, Saga Prefecture.
Notices with information about the construction period were installed at the site on Monday. About 10 residents who oppose the project staged a protest in the vicinity.
Compared to standard transport helicopters, Ospreys are twice as fast with triple the range.
The aircraft earmarked for the new facility will be used to transport the GSDF’s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, which is responsible for safeguarding remote islands.
Saga Airport is only about 60 kilometers from GSDF Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, where the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade is based, so the new facility will facilitate swift responses to emergency situations.
The Defense Ministry proposed deploying Osprey aircraft in Saga Prefecture in July 2014, eyeing China’s maritime expansion.
Opinions among nori seaweed farmers who operate in the Ariake Sea have been divided since the prefecture announced its acceptance of the proposal in 2018.
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