The Daily Manila Shimbun


Two TC-90s leased from Japan delivered to Philippines

March 27, 2017

Sangley Point, Cavite- Two units of Beechcraft TC-90 training aircraft the Philippine government leased from Japan Ministry of Defense were formally turned over to the Philippine Navy.

The two aircraft, with tail number 6822 and 6824, landed at the headquarters of Naval Air Group, Camp Herecleo Alano in Sangley Point, Cavite City around 9:36 am Monday.

The arrival was followed by the formal transfer of the aircraft which includes the signing of its documents.

The event was witnessed by Japan Senior Vice Defense Minister Kenji Wakamiya, Defense  Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Philippine military officials, Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año.

During the ceremony, the two TC90 aircraft were welcomed with water cannon from two fire trucks.

In his message Wakamiya said: “this particular project is the first bilateral cooperation program in defense equipment.”

“It is the product of close relationship between our two countries that the project has been realized so speedily; it has been realized only year since the agreement for the defense equipment transfer was signed in February last year, and today we are together in this transfer ceremony,” he said.

Lorenzana said “this transfer of defense equipment is the first in Asean.”

In an ambush interview after the event, Mercado and Año said  the two TC-90’s can be deployed in any part of the country, including Benham Rise and West Philippine Sea.

“Our aircraft for maritime air surveillance can be used in any part of our country, we do not allocate an aircraft just for one area, this is the same, so when it flies to one particular area, they can go to any area in our country,” Mercado said.

“Anywhere we can use that. Any part of the country, where it is needed… Yes we will,” Año said when asked if the aircraft will be utilized in West Philippine Sea and Benham Rise.

Wakamiya emphasized the importance of Japan’s cooperation with the Philippines.

“The Philippines is a geopolitically important nation for Japan as it is located in the sea lane of communication to Japan,” he said.

“As we are faced with many security related issues in the Asia Pacific including those in the South China Sea our cooperation with the Philippines for the regional security and stability is now even more significant,” he added.

“Japan, as a maritime nation, regards it as important to enhance the order based on the open and stable waters as the basis of the peace and prosperity of the region and we believe in the necessity of securing safe sea lanes,” Wakamiya stated.

He noted “the transfer of TC-90 will contribute to enhancing Maritime Domain Awareness and other mission capabilities of the PN and will serve the peace and stability of the region.”

“The transfer of TC-90s is based on this principle and we believe that the Philippine navy's operation of TC-90s will contribute to enhancing maritime domain awareness and other mission capabilities of the Philippines and therefore the transfer will serve the peace and stability of Asia pacific region,” the Japanese defense minister said.

Wakamiya expressed hope the Philippine Navy will take good care of their aircraft.

“It is wonderful to see these lovely aircraft by Japan Maritime Self Defense force now in the hands of our closest friends in the Philippines and I hope they will be used with good care  by the Philippine Navy,” he said.

Lorenzana mentioned the significance of the aircraft for the country, especially for the Philippine Navy.

“These newly-acquired planes are expected to enhance our country’s capacity in maritime security as well as provide the Philippine navy the needed air asset for their missions concerning humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), transportation and maritime domain awareness, including maritime air surveillance and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance in support of maritime security and training for these missions,” he said

“Likewise, these TC-90s will also enhance cooperative relationship, promoting mutual understanding and trust as well as contributing to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” he added.

Comparing the TC-90 to the Philippine Navy Islander, Mercado said the Japanese plane is faster and has a capability to fly at a longer range.

“First of all both aircraft will be used for our maritime air surveillance to be able to give us a better picture of maritime domain, what we call maritime domain awareness, the only difference is the aircraft (speed) my apologies, I cannot give you, I’m not aware of the technical aspects of all the aircraft, suffice it to say that as I said this aircraft is faster than our existing Islanders,” he said.

Lorenzana announced the possible transfer of spare parts of UH-1H helicopters from Japan.

“We are pleased to announce that the DND has already started discussions with Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency regarding possible transfer of UH-1H helicopter spare parts to the Philippine Air Force,” he said.

“We are looking forward to the actualization of this proposal. I am grateful that we are indeed getting all the support of our neighbors in Asia, such as Japan,” he added.

Captain Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy spokesman, said remaining three units are expected to arrive by the end of March 2018.

He said “the whole project, which involves five units of TC90s, is pursuant to the agreement between the Philippines and Japan signed in Manila on Feb. 29, 2016. “

“The Philippine Navy will temporarily lease the said aircraft amounting to 28,000 US dollars per year while awaiting for the legal framework that would allow Japan to donate defense equipment to foreign countries,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS