WASHINGTON (Agencies): The U.S. Department of Defense is set to lift the ban on flights for the grounded V-22 Osprey next week. This decision comes after a high-level meeting where Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin endorsed the military services’ plans for a safe and measured return to operations.

Naval Air Systems Command, which had grounded the controversial tilt-rotor aircraft approximately three months ago, will now lift the ban, allowing the services to begin implementing their plans to get the Osprey back into the air. During a meeting with top service leaders, including those from the Navy and Air Force, Austin emphasized the importance of safety and the involvement of critical allies in the program.

The Osprey had been grounded for nearly three months following a fatal crash in Japan on November 29, 2023, which claimed the lives of eight service members. An earlier Osprey crash in Australia in August, resulting in the deaths of three Marines, is also under investigation. While the cause of the Japan crash has been identified, the exact reason for the failure remains unknown.

Although the decision to end the flight ban lies with Naval Air Systems Command, Austin’s endorsement of the services’ plan marks a significant step toward resuming Osprey operations. Over the past months, the services have diligently worked on safety checks and a more conservative approach to operating the aircraft.

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