The Philippines plans to lease five Beechcraft King Air 90 aircraft from Japan, which will help the Southeast Asian nation beef up its maritime patrol capabilities.
The disclosure was made by Philippine president Benigno Aquiono at a recent speech he made a Filipino military base, according to local media reports.
Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer shows that the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force operates 27 King Air 90s in the training role. It’s designation for the type is TC-90.
Benigno said that the aircraft will be used to patrol the South China Sea – which he referred in his speech as the “West Philippine Sea,” where China has become increasingly belligerent at pressing its territorial claims, despite protests from the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
It is not clear when the aircraft will arrive in the Philippines, or if they will be outfitted with sensors.
At the recent Singapore Air Show, exhibitors placed a significant emphasis on areas such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and maritime patrol. These are two mission areas in which Southeast Asian nations suffer from capability gaps, despite having extensive littoral frontiers and contested territorial claims.