Phillippines Navy Receive Three More King Air TC-90 From Japan

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (left) and Japan's Vice Minister of Defense Tatsuo Fukuda wave from one of the three Beechcraft TC-90 patrol planes. Image by AP.

This month, The Philippines Navy received the last three of a five King Air TC-90 grant agreement from Japan. The first two TC-90 King Air were received in March of last year.

Originally used by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) as training platforms, the three King Air were turned over on March 26th in a ceremony at the Philippines Navy Air Group headquarters at Sangley Point, Cavite City. Attending were the Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Japanese Vice-Minister of Defense, Tatsuo Fukuda.

One of the main purposes of the aircraft is to address the security challenge of China’s continued expansion in the South China Sea. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana noted that Beijing has no legal rights to the Scarborough Shoal, an area economically vital to the Philippines. Parts of the South China Sea region have trillions of dollars of trade pass through them annually.

“We must admit that much is still to be done to boost the country’s military capability and equipment in order to meet a number of persistent maritime security challenges,” Lorenzana said at the turnover ceremony.

Relations between Philippines and China have improved since President Rodrigo Duterte took power, but the South China Sea expansion is still a sore spot of contention between the two nations.

The King Air TC-90 aircraft are used to assist the country’s maritime air surveillance and reconnaissance capability.

“These aircraft will definitely boost the PN’s (Philippine Navy’s) capability in providing humanitarian assistance and conducting disaster-relief operations,” Lorenzana said.

 

 

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