THE Department of National Defense on Thursday confirmed reports that it is planning to acquire a P-3C patrol aircraft from Japan to boost the military’s capabilities especially in monitoring the nation’s maritime boundaries.
“We can confirm that. We are interested to get a P3,” Peter Paul Galvez, spokesman for the DND, said.
“We are looking if it will become an excess defense article…If it becomes an excess defense article, then we can get it a very low price or acquire it at a very reasonable price that is advantageous to the government,” Galvez added.
Several P3-C Orion aircraft from Japan’s Self Defense Force are participating in ongoing military exercises in Palawan.
The aircraft, together with a Philippine Navy Islander spotter plane, conducted a joint patrol exercise near the Recto (Reed) Bank off the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
The Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s.
It is still in use by numerous navies and air forces around the world, primarily for maritime patrol, reconnaissance an anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
The US Navy’s remaining P-3C aircraft will eventually be replaced by the P-8A Poseidon, which recently gained prominence after its flight over the West Philippine Sea was challenged by the Chinese Navy.
Aside from the Orion aircraft, Galvez said the DND is also eyeing to acquire helicopters from Japan.
“The advantage of a P3 if it materializes is that its engine is the same as the engine of the C-130 [Hercules] so it is easy to absorb,” he pointed out.
The Philippine Air Force currently operates at least three C-130 aircraft for its medium to heavy lift requirements.