South China Sea Showdown: One of China's Neighbors Is Getting New Patrol Planes

Michael Peck
By 111 Emergency from New Zealand - Aircraft around Wellington, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17695250

Michael Peck

Security, Asia

Beijing won't like that one bit.

South China Sea Showdown: One of China's Neighbors Is Getting New Patrol Planes

In a move that won’t please China, the Philippines is planning to acquire U.S. P-3 long-range maritime patrol planes.

“It will be good if we acquire even one P-3 Orion,” said Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. “Provided it has all its original equipment. Otherwise it will just be another transport plane. We will find out if we can get one or two.”

Lorenzana said the patrol aircraft would enhance the Philippines to monitor the region. The Orions would be “very important as our domain awareness will be greatly enhanced,” he said.

“The defense chief said he will soon make a formal request for the acquisition of the American aircraft,” according to a Philippine government news release. The purchase would be made through the U.S. government’s Excess Defense Articles Program.

Currently, the Philippines has a limited maritime patrol capability. The Philippine Navy has five TC-90 patrol planes donated by the Japanese navy in 2017 and 2018. Based on the ubiquitous Beech King Air civilian turboprop aircraft, the TC-90 has a range of about 1,200 miles.

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