CH-46E conducts final flights
US Marine Corps, September 30, 2013 - MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP S.D. BUTLER, OKINAWA, Japan by III Marine Expeditionary Force / Marine Corps Installations Pacific - The last of the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 ( see HMM-262 ) flew from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Camp Kinser today to await final disposition.
The aging CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters are being replaced on a one-for-one basis with the MV-22B Osprey, which can fly twice as fast, carry three times the weight, and fly four times the distance of a CH-46E.
Basing the Osprey in Okinawa significantly strengthens the United States' ability to provide for the defense of Japan, perform humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and fulfill other alliance roles. We are committed to forward-deploying our strongest capabilities in the defense of our Japanese allies.
"What you're seeing here today is the last CH-46 flight in Okinawa and in the Pacific," said Brig. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, commanding general of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. "The historical flight marks the finalization of the transition to the MV-22B for VMM-262."
"Seeing this last aircraft fly into Camp Kinser is bittersweet for many of the pilots out there who the 46 has faithfully served," said Rudder. "The 46 was the centerpiece for our composite squadrons on the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit."
"We're very excited to have the MV-22B in the Pacific," Rudder added. "It gives us extended range not just for the defense of Japan but for humanitarian efforts and disaster relief missions. It's a significant point in aviation history for those who have flown this faithful aircraft (the CH-46) in Vietnam, Iraq and all over the world. The CH-46 has saved a lot of lives. It has made a big difference for Marine Corps aviation. Like all of our squadrons, VMM-262 has done a great job of capturing its heritage ensuring that the memories of the CH-46 remain for years to come."
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Boeing-Vertol 107M H-46 Sea Knight in US Marine Corps