Japan is considering donating three Beechcraft TC-90 King Air planes fitted with air surveillance radar to the Philippines for conducting patrols in the South China Sea.
Japan may donate the planes as an alternative to more sophisticated Lockheed Martin P3-C aircraft that Manila wants to buy to track Chinese submarine activity, they added, Reuters reported quoting unnamed sources.
The US has been conducting P3-C and Boeing P8A patrols over the South China China and intends to sell one or the other planes to the cash-strapped Philippines.
The twin-turboprop TC-90 aircraft are used by Japan uses to train military pilots and may be unsuited for long range surveillance over long hours unlike the American planes.
However, a source familiar with the Philippine military told defenseworld.net that the Beechcraft TC-90 planes could be used for familiarising the Philippine navy with the operation of sophisticated aircraft such as the P3-C.
Japan may donate the relatively inexpensive Beechcraft planes and later sell Manila used P3-Cs.