The Philippines may receive military helicopters and tanks from Japan as part of a security cooperation grant.
The Nikkei reported that Japan wants to give the Philippines a grant for security cooperation, the first such award under a new program designed to boost the defense capabilities of regional allies.
According to the report, the Philippines would be the first recipient of the grant, which could be in the form of financing and equipment. Further details will be agreed after the Japanese parliament passes the budget.
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In key security policy documents updated in December, Japan outlined plans to create a new program as a way to strengthen the armed forces of partner countries. The government’s draft budget for fiscal 2023 included ¥2 billion ($15.2 million) for the initiative.
Last year, the two island nations held their first quadrilateral security talks between their defense and foreign ministers and agreed to strengthen their defense ties.
Kishida’s government in December adopted key security and defense upgrades, including a counter-strike capability that departs from Japan’s post-World War II principle of self-defense, while also doubling defense spending in five years.
Local media also said the Philippine military is interested in acquiring a series of Fuji-Bell UH-1J Huey helicopters and Type 74 main battle tanks that are due to be decommissioned by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).
Ex-naval officer Max Montero too added that the Philippine Army team that inspected the UH-1Js also inspected the AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters and was interested in them if Japan offered them as a donation.
On top of that, the Philippine Navy has already received TC-90 patrol aircraft from Japan. The first two Beechcraft TC-90 trainer aircraft from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force were delivered to the Philippine Navy in 2017.