Japan-donated surveillance plane conducts maritime patrol over Scarborough Shoal

Japan-donated surveillance plane conducts maritime patrol over Scarborough Shoal

The new flying asset of the Philippines flies over Philippine skies.

The so-called Golden Age of Philippine-Japan relations was  the way for the Philippines to be the recipient of five (5) Beechcraft TC-90 King Air training airplanes from the Japanese government.The TC-90 was offered by Japan the Agreement Concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology was finalized last Feb. 29, 2016.

A very much welcome for the Philippine Air Force who is on its way of modernizing its flying assets, the Beechcraft TC-90 was principally geared for the conduct surveillance, monitoring, and search-and-rescue missions over the country’s maritime domain. *

Philippine Navy's TC-90 surveillance aircraft which conducted its first maritime patrol over Scarborough Shoal in Zambales (photo credit to UpdatePH website)

And the milestone has just been reached when for the first time the Japanses-donated Beechcraft TC-90, under the operational control of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), conducted its first maritime patrol air patrol mission over the Bajo De Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), Zambales and other areas under NOLCOM supervision.

"Given the task, the (T)C-90 plane, with a tail number of 390, made its maiden flight at 9:45 a.m. of January 31, 2018, in the area of Bajo De Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), Masinloc, Zambales. It has flown around the shoal for about 800 feet above sea level sighting four Filipino fishing boats, together with nine Chinese vessels comprising of four Chinese Coast Guard vessels, four unknown Chinese vessels and a Chinese fishing vessel. Moreover, the Filipino pilots heard no challenge from the Chinese Cost Guard," NOLCOM spokesperson Lt. Col. Isagani Nato said.

It was a milestone in a sense since the former platform was the Britten Norman Islanders, the TC-90 are much faster , and has roughly twice the flight range than the former. The entry of the new surveillance planes was the first ever for a Beechcrft TC-90 in Philippine service. It really has boosted the capability of the Navy to conduct limited airlift, reconnaissance and surveillance within NOLCOM’s area of jurisdiction.

NOLCOM spokesperson Lt. Col. Isagani Nato said, NOLCOM would utilize all available assets and resources to protect our national territory, including its northern maritime areas, and assert our sovereign rights over the country's maritime domain.  *

"NOLCOM will continue to do its mandate that will be non-provocative strictly adhering to the International Law and in line with the directives and policies of the national government," he added.
Report from PNA

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