An unspecified maintenance issue in multiple aircraft at a Marine base in Japan is prompting the Marine Corps to take “corrective actions,” according to the Corps.

The aircraft involved were the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter and the UH-1Y Venom utility helicopter, Capt. Tyler King said Dec. 18 in an emailed statement to Marine Corps Times. The problem occurred at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, according to the Naval Safety Command’s list of mishaps.

The Marine Corps is keeping the nature of the problem under wraps while it investigates what happened.

“The maintenance actions do not stem from a flight mishap or personnel injury but were in the normal conduct of preventative maintenance,” King said, without specifying the number of helicopters involved.

The Viper, which can fire at targets in the air and on the ground, and the Venom, which can perform a wide range of missions, are both Bell-made helicopters and part of the same family of aircraft, according to Naval Air Systems Command.

The Marine Corps had 159 Vipers and 128 Venoms in its inventory in 2022, according to the aviation planning document released that year.

King declined in a follow-up email to clarify how the recent issue came about.

“At this time, with an open investigation I do not have any further information whether the issue arose from maintenance or was discovered by it,” the spokesman said.

The aircraft wing was “taking corrective actions to ensure our aircrew and aircraft are performing within the highest standards of safety and procedural compliance,” King said.

The maintenance issue didn’t raise any “immediate” concerns related to the safety of flight, according to the spokesman.

Still, Naval Safety Command listed the incident as a Class A mishap, the most serious kind. In cases where no one was killed or permanently disabled, a Class A mishap indicates military aircraft sustained at least $2.5 million in damage.

King’s statement didn’t specify the unit where the mishap took place, except that it took place under 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, the Corps’ Pacific-based aviation element. The air station where the incident occurred is home to Marine Aircraft Group 36, along with an air control group, according to its website.

But Marine Aircraft Group 36 doesn’t contain any light attack helicopter squadrons, the units that fly Vipers and Venoms, according to its website.

Editor’s note: This article was updated 5:01 p.m. Eastern with more accurate information about the units located at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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