TC90 surveillance aircraft (Source: Abs-cbn.com)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippines on March 26 received three secondhand TC90 surveillance aircraft from the Japanese Ministry of Defence in an effort to strengthen the naval force’s capacity and stay ready to respond to increasing maritime challenges and threats.

In a speech at a naval base south of Manila, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippines is facing a lot of challenges related to maritime security such as piracy, armed insurgents in the Sulu sea and other transnational crimes, including smuggling of illegal drugs and poaching into rich fishing grounds in the Philippines’ territorial waters.

Therefore, the planes will definitely boost the navy’s capability to gather intelligence, Lorenzana stated.

The surveillance planes have a flight range of 300 km, doubling the capability of its existing aircraft. The navy said it has a budget of nearly 6 billion peso (114.65 million USD) to acquire two brand new long-range maritime patrol aircraft to enhance its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability.

Japan planned to lease five surveillance planes but decided last year to transfer without cost the aircraft after changes were made in Tokyo’s self-defense forces law allowing donation of excess defense and military equipment to partner countries.-VNA