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02:35 PM, March 28, 2017
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TC-90 aircraft

Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) will use its TC-90 aircraft leased from Japan to patrol the West Philippine Sea and Benham Rise, where China has been attempting to incur.

The Philippines Navy officially received the first two of five TC-90 patrol planes from Japan yesterday, philstar Global reported today.

Japan has agreed to lease five patrol planes to the Philippines at minimal cost. The delivery of the other three planes is expected in 2018.

The West Philippine Sea and Benham Rise are among the areas that will be patrolled.

Japan has leased TC-90 patrol aircraft to the Philippines under several agreements in 2015 and 2016 pending another agreement that will allow Japan to donate the aircraft.

“These newly acquired planes are expected to enhance our country’s capacity in maritime security as well as provide the Philippine Navy the required air asset for their missions concerning humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, transportation and maritime domain awareness, including maritime air surveillance and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance in support of maritime security operations and training for these missions,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

The acquisition of the aircraft is the main part of the AFP Modernization Program, which aims to synchronize improvements in materiel and technology capabilities of the military.

The government is looking into the acquisition of more equipment for the country’s external defense missions, including the possible acquisition of UH-1H helicopter spare parts for the Philippine Air Force, Lorenzana said.

“Japan is dependent on the supply of resources and energy and all of which comes through maritime transport and therefore stronger relationship with the Philippines is important as the country is located in the important point of such sea lanes,” Wakamiya said in a joint press conference with Lorenzana.

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