SAN DIEGO, June 14 (UPI) -- A U.S. Marine MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft Friday landed on a Japanese ship off the coast of San Diego in a historic first, officials said.
The two-week join exercise with the U.S. Navy called Dawn Blitz comes amid tensions between Japan and China over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Dawn Blitz, which began Tuesday, involves 5,000 troops. Friday's operation saw the MV-22 touch down on the helicopter destroyer Hyuga, U-T San Diego reported.
"I think the Osprey is well-suited to Japan, where you have long distances over water," Brig. Gen. John Broadmeadow, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, said after arriving on the ship in the MV-22.
Standing alongside a Japanese rear admiral and major general, Broadmeadow called the landing an "important moment."
"This is a great demonstration of the interoperability of our armed forces, where two partners who have historically worked together can bring together our latest technology. But I don't want to be overwhelmed by the aircraft itself. What's really important here is the partnership among two very close friends," he said.
A dozen Ospreys are stationed at the U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, Japan. The island nation is rumored to be considering purchasing some of the aircraft, which can hover, take off and land like a helicopter.