News reports from Japan says Tokyo is mulling over a plan to share air defense radar information with the Philippines in order to better track Chinese aircraft heading out to the Pacific Ocean.
Currently, Japan is able to track Chinese aircraft over the Miyako Straits but if any of those aircraft enters the Pacific via Bashi Channel, they cannot be track reliably due to the distance involved.
The plan is to share the information from Japanese radars with the Philippines while Manila will provide information collected by three cutting-edge Mitsubishi Electric J/FPS-3 and one J/TPS-P14 radars that Philippines is buying.
Philippines had awarded a long-running competition to buy long-range air defense radars to Mitsubishi Electric in March. The deal was supposed to be signed within 60 days of the award but has been delayed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. It is believe that the contract will be finalized within a month.
With the information provided by Philippines, Japan can get a better air picture of Chinese aircraft movements south of Taiwan and take appropriate measures much earlier.
Japan’s thinking goes that upgrading the less-than-cutting-edge radar to meet the Philippines’ needs will keep costs down, helping it win orders. The price is expected to be between 1 billion yen and 2 billion yen ($8.87 million and $17.7 million). Manila has also approached the U.S. and Israel on the matter, according to a source connected to the Japanese government, and may decide as early as the start of next year.
Japan and Philippines are interested in partnering on maritime security as China continues to build up its military presence in the South China Sea, a vital sea lane for goods and energy shipments for both Tokyo and Manila. By exporting air-defense radars to the Philippines, Japan hopes to improve the Southeast Asian country’s detection and surveillance capabilities and help maintain safety in the region.
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