The Philippines has received a surveillance radar system from Japan, marking the first major equipment transfer since the Japanese government lifted its post-war defense export ban in 2014.

The delivery comes amid tensions between the Philippines and China over contested territory in the South China Sea. The new warning and control radar system, FPS-3ME, can detect multiple fighter jets and ballistic missiles.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. signed a contract with the Philippine Defense Department in August 2020 for four FPS-3ME radars, worth around $100 million. Domestic production for the first radar ended in October 2022, and the Philippine Air Force received it last week.

The second radar for the Philippine Navy is being acquired through a $4.2 million Japanese-run security assistance program. The acquisition is aimed at enhancing the country’s maritime defense capabilities and ensuring the safety and security of its coastline. The acquisition is crucial for the Philippines’ maritime defense, as it will help monitor and protect its extensive coastline.

The Philippines faces significant sea lanes for Japan, including the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait. Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has stated that enhancing the maritime domain awareness capabilities of the Department of National Defense, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Navy, is crucial for the effective monitoring of these sea lanes and waters.

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