SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Marine Corps will send MV-22 Ospreys to South Korea for the first time to jointly conduct logistics support drills on its east coast as part of their annual training, a senior military official said Thursday.
The vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which was first deployed in Japan's Okinawa last fall, will be sent to South Korea to carry out the joint naval and marine training and logistics drills involving South Korean and U.S. forces as part of the annual training called Foal Eagle. It began on March 1 and runs through April 30.
"Ospreys deployed in Japan's Okinawa will join this year's Ssang Yong exercise, which marks the first time," a senior military official said, requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media.
He didn't elaborate the number of aircrafts and the day of their arrival.
The one-month joint naval marine corps training called Ssang Yong began on April 1, and the Combined Joint Logistics Over the Shore exercise (CJ-LOTS) will be held April 18-28 near the southeastern port city of Pohang, to train Navy and Marine Corps forces of the two nations, the Combined Forces Command (CFC) said in a statement.
LOTS include offshore loading and unloading of strategic ships when fixed port facilities are unavailable to improve combined capabilities in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
"These exercises are defensive in nature and are essential to ensuring the readiness of our forces, providing valuable military training based on realistic requirements and missions expected of Republic of Korea and U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula," the CFC said.
The deployment of 12 Ospreys in Okinawa's Futenma air station last October was highly controversial, given a spate of crashes overseas involving the aircraft and fierce opposition from local residents.
Some 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in the South as a deterrent against the North, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War which ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.