Japan completes ₱5 billion radar unit for delivery to the Philippines

Japan completes ₱5 billion radar unit for delivery to the Philippines

An Air Self-Defense Force’s surveillance radar unit, which was used as a model for the system to be exported to the Philippines (Provided by the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency)

Japan has completed an air surveillance radar unit for the Philippines to be the first such export under rules that were eased to allow defense equipment to be shipped overseas under certain conditions.

It’s all systems go for the delivery of four air surveillance radar systems from Japan in a bid to boost the Philippines’ defense capability.

The contract agreement and notice to proceed for the Philippine Air Force’s Horizon 2 Air Surveillance Radar System Acquisition Project was signed on August 2020.

The contract was awarded to Japanese company Mitsubishi Electric Corporation at $103 million or around ₱5 billion.

The negotiated government-to-government procurement with Japan is in line with a 2016 agreement between the two countries for the transfer of defense equipment and technology.

“This will be another project based on the said agreement, following the transfer of TC-90 aircrafts that have been agreed upon in 2016, and is the first overseas transfer of a complete defense equipment system that is newly-manufactured by a Japanese company,” the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines said in a separate statement.

The air surveillance radars will be used in large areas of the Philippine Rise and the West Philippine Sea, which includes areas in the South China Sea that are being claimed by both Manila and Beijing. No other country claims the Philippine Rise off Aurora province, but China's survey ships were spotted in the resource-rich area in May 2017, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to change its name from Benham Rise to assert sovereignty.

“Operations from these strategically vital locations will enable the Philippine Air Force to provide optimal airspace monitoring, aircraft control, perform its Air Defense mission and enhance the security in Areas of Interest identified by the DND (Department of National Defense),” the department said.

The package includes three fixed long-range air surveillance radars with building facilities and one mobile air surveillance radar, which will help detect threats and intrusions within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, the DND added.

“For Japan, the Philippines is a strategic partner sharing common principles and goals,” Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said at a news conference after a Cabinet meeting on Oct. 3.

The radar system will be delivered to the Philippines in mid-November or later.

This will be the first domestically produced defense equipment to be shipped overseas since the administration of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe eased export rules in 2014 under the "Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology."

The Philippines are engaged in a territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

“Enhancing cooperation in defense equipment with the Philippines is also important for ensuring peace and stability in our country and the region,” Hamada said.

An air radar unit is used to track the movements of fighter jets and other objects in flight. 

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. signed a contract with the Philippine government to deliver four radar units in August 2020.

Three are fixed-site radar units, one of which is now completed, and one mobile radar unit.

The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force will host six personnel from the Philippines Air Force from Oct. 4 for training on operating and maintaining the radar units. 

Read related stories at the Asahi Shimbun

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