JAPAN has delivered a part of the $103.5 million (P5.5 billion) air surveillance radar system to the Philippines, Japan’s Ministry of Defense attached agency Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) said.
The Japanese radar system involves three fixed, long-range air surveillance radars with building facilities each and mobile surveillance radar. These radars can detect the movement of fighter jets and identify threats and intrusions within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Philippine bought the radar system under a government-to-government deal from Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corp. (MELCO).
The Department of National Defense earlier said that these new radars would cover large areas of the Philippine Rise east of Luzon, southern areas of the country and southern portion of the West Philippine Sea.
The radars bought by the Philippine government from Israel Aerospace Industries are already covering most of the western seaboard of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and the southwestern areas near Sabah.
“For Japan, the Philippines is a strategic partner sharing basic values, and to enhance cooperation in defense equipment and technology with the Philippines is important for ensuring peace and stability in Japan and the region. Japan Ministry of Defense will continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation with the Philippines,” the Japanese defense ministry said in a separate statement.
1st Japanese-made defense equipment exported
The MELCO radar system is the first export sale of Japan of a major defense equipment to another country since former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe eased export controls in 2014.
The MELCO radar system is an improved version that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces is currently using to detect missiles or other aircraft from North Korea and other threats.
“As the very first transfer case of finished equipment, the first air surveillance radar system manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation [MELCO] has been delivered to the Philippines,” ATLA tweeted on November 2, a day before the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio to Manila.
ATLA said it would continue to work together with MELCO to deliver the remaining systems to the Philippines and “to further strengthen defense cooperation, including defense equipment and technology cooperation.”
Philippine Air Force personnel were trained in Japan to operate and maintain the radars.
MELCO won the bidding for the Philippine second batch of radar system purchase under Horizon 2 Air Surveillance Radar System in March 2020.
A day after ATLA announced the delivery of the Horizon 2 to the Philippines, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko signed and exchanged notes for the purchase of coastal radars to the Philippines.
The signing was done in Malacañang and witnessed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Prime Minister Kishida.
Under the new agreement, the Japanese government will provide Y600 million (P235 million) grant to the Philippine Navy for its coastal radars.
“The Philippines faces important sea lanes for Japan, including the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait. To ensure the safety and security of these sea lanes, it is very timely and crucial that the maritime domain awareness [MDA] capabilities of the Department of National Defense, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and especially the Philippine Navy, are enhanced for the effective monitoring of these sea lanes and waters,” the Japanese Embassy in Manila said.
The coastal radar systems grant is Japan’s official security assistance (OSA) ever since OSA was established in 2023 as a new cooperation framework.
Japan is committed to beefing up the defensive capabilities of its partner nations in the Asia-Pacific Region, National Security Adviser (NSA) Eduardo Año said on Sunday.
He made this comment following the Japanese pledge to grant to the Philippines that will allow the country to acquire coastal surveillance radars that will help defend its vast maritime territory.
“Moreover, the commitment of Japan to provide coastal surveillance radars and support through the Official Security Assistance program is a testament to their dedication to strengthening the security and deterrence capabilities of partner countries in the Asia-Pacific region,” Año noted.
He added the Philippines is honored to be the first beneficiary of this program, which aligns with ongoing efforts to improve the country’s maritime domain awareness capability, maintain regional stability, and protect the rules based international order.
Año also noted that ongoing trilateral cooperation between Japan, the Philippines, and the United States is pivotal in safeguarding the freedom of the seas in the WPS and promoting international law.
“Japan’s support in the form of equipment, technology cooperation, and patrol vessels will further enhance our maritime law enforcement capabilities,” he noted.
The NSA also emphasized that the reciprocal access agreement (RAA) the Philippines and Japan formally discussed will undoubtedly boost military cooperation and contributes to regional security.
He added the proposed RAA will facilitate the procedures and set guidelines when Philippine forces visit Japan for training and joint exercises, and vice versa.
Image credits: Acquisition Technology & Logistics Agency