TOKYO, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Local officials on Thursday took test rides on the U.S. Marines' Osprey aircraft at an air base in southwestern Japanese city of Iwakuni, ahead of their planned transfer to Okinawa.
The demonstration rides were conducted at the U.S. Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture, where 12 MV-22 Ospreys are temporarily stationed amid lingering safety concerns over their controversial deployment at the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in Ginowan city of the southernmost Okinawa Prefecture.
The fleet is expected to go into full operation in mid-October.
The Defense Ministry Wednesday notified Okinawa authorities that the aircraft will be deployed at the base as early as Friday.
The MV-22 Osprey is a hybrid aircraft with rotors that allow it to take off and land like a helicopter and engines that can tilt forward, enabling it to fly at a higher speed than a chopper.