Japan is looking to gift its decommissioned military patrol aircraft P-3Cs to Malaysia to help the South East Asian country effectively guard the South China Sea.
Japan's parliament is currently weighing revisions to the foundational law of the Ministry of Defense that would permit equipment supply to other nations at no cost. Current requirement is that some kind of compensation is needed for any national assets.
Malaysia will likely be the first beneficiary once that changes have been made, receiving P-3C patrol aircraft previously used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force, Nikkei Asian Review reported Friday.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries manufactured the aircraft under a license agreement from Lockheed Martin, though that production has since ended.
The Maritime Self-Defense Force has 60 or more of the aircraft in operation, and plans to retire those that have logged around 15,000 hours in flight.
Malaysia approached Japan about receiving P-3Cs to its fleet, an official at the Defense Ministry's Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency told Nikkei Asia Review.
Japan will likely hand the retired aircraft over after making renovations.
The plan is to remove technologies such as high-performance radar used to detect submarines, which could qualify as defense secrets.
Tokyo aims to reach an agreement with Kuala Lumpur on the transfer of defense equipment and technology in short order to clear the way for a hand-off. Malaysia had earlier expressed interest in aquiring the Japanese patrol aircraft.
Japan will also conduct a review of the plan to ensure that neither defense equipment nor the technology involved will reach China and plans to obtain permission for the transfer under the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations, due to the P-3Cs' American origins.