Boeing Co. apologized Friday for a mistakenly published ad for its V-22 Osprey aircraft that showed troops dropping onto the roof of a mosque in what appeared to be a simulated battle scene.
The ad, coming amid concern among Muslims over U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, prompted immediate complaints from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
But Chicago-based Boeing, which created the V-22 with Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc., said the ad's publication was the result of a "clerical error" by the National Journal, which ran it Sept. 24.
"We consider the ad offensive, regret its publication and apologize to those who like us are dismayed with its contents," said Mary Foerster, vice president at Boeing's defense unit.
The ad "did not proceed through normal channels," Boeing said. Although Boeing asked for it to be withdrawn and destroyed, the ad was published.
The National Journal, a Washington magazine, accepted full responsibility for the error.
The furor comes two days after the Pentagon approved full-rate production of the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft -- which takes off and lands like a helicopter but can fly like a plane -- after years of checkered development.
The ad shows troops rappelling down from an Osprey onto the domed roof of a building labeled "Muhammad Mosque" in Arabic as smoke billows from a burned-out car nearby. "It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell," the text of the ad says.
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the group welcomed Boeing's swift response, but would press the issue of how such an ad came to be created.