Philippines ‘add eyes,’ takes delivery of mobile radar system from Japan

BenarNews staff
Philippines ‘add eyes,’ takes delivery of mobile radar system from Japan Endo Kazuya (left), Japan’s ambassador to the Philippines, hands over documents for Manila’s acquisition of the TPS-P14ME Mobile Air Surveillance System to Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (second from left) in Manila, April 29, 2024.
[Handout/Philippine Department of National Defense]

The Philippine government on Monday took delivery of a Japanese-made mobile radar system that it says “adds eyes” to the air force’s ability to safeguard the country’s skies amid an increasingly fraught atmosphere in the disputed South China Sea.

Filipino Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. received documents for the TPS-P14ME Mobile Air Surveillance Radar System from Endo Kazuya, the Japanese envoy, and then turned them over to Lt. Gen. Stephen Parreño, the Philippine Air Force chief, at Camp Aguinaldo in Manila.

The radar is “a critical component of our [Air Force] surveillance and early warning capability,” Parreño said Monday.

“Truly, it will play a significant role in bolstering the Philippine Air Force’s capabilities in maintaining situational awareness in our airspace.”

Teodoro said the radar “adds [to] our scope of domain awareness, particularly in the aerial domain.”

“It adds eyes,” he said.

Manila has now received two of the four radars it bought from Tokyo for U.S. $98.7 million in 2020, in a government-to-government deal. The deal includes three fixed radar units and a mobile radar unit, manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.

 The defense department took delivery of one of the fixed radars in December, and Teodoro said the remaining two would be received in the next two years.

The Japanese radars are being placed under the control of the Philippine Air Force’s 508th Aircraft Control and Warning Wing, although the defense department has declined to say where they would be deployed ultimately.

Parreño said the radars would ensure that “we maintain a watchful eye on the horizon for potential threats anytime, anywhere, crucial in light of an ever changing geopolitical landscape in the region.”

 While he did not mention where such potential threats may come from, the Philippines has been locked in a bitter territorial contest with China. Manila says Beijing has often blocked and harassed Filipino supply boats going to an old Navy ship stranded at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal to serve as Manila’s outpost there. 

The leaders of the Philippines and Japan, along with U.S. President Joe Biden, recently held a summit in Washington and agreed to work together to maintain peace in the South China Sea, which is claimed by Beijing in virtually its entirety on historical grounds, causing friction among neighbors.

Teodoro said that the visit to Manila by Japanese State Minister of Defense Oniki Makoto for the handover of the mobile radar Manila highlighted “the increased defense interaction and cooperation between the Philippines and Japan towards the promotion of regional peace and security.”

 Early warning detection’

The Air Force said the mobile radar provides high-resolution surveillance of air and surface targets, “enabling us to track and identify potential threats with precision and accuracy.”

It can be deployed to different locations, allowing the military to quickly establish surveillance operations in remote and strategic areas.

 The Air Force also said the mobile radar “significantly enhances the Philippine Air Force’s operational capabilities by providing real-time situational awareness, early warning detection, and precise target tracking capabilities.”

Jason Gutierrez in Manila contributed to this report.


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