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The government plans to lease retired Maritime Self-Defense Force TC-90 training aircraft to the Philippine Navy, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The Philippines will use the aircraft for air patrol missions related to China’s maritime expansion in the South China Sea, according to informed sources. The Japanese and Philippine governments are expected to agree on the lease of the aircraft as early as this spring.
Aircraft currently used by the Philippine Navy for air patrol missions have a short range, with a radius of action of about 300 kilometers. “It’s difficult to patrol over all the area of the Spratly Islands where China has been expanding and then return to the Philippines,” a source close to the government said.
The Philippines is in a dispute with China over Subi Reef, Mischief Reef and other parts of the Spratly Islands, and therefore sought aircraft with a longer range.