Japan Changing Laws to Donate Orions to Malaysia

SHAH ALAM: It appears that Japan is working to get its laws changed so it can donate P-3C Orion MPA to Malaysia, Japan Nikkei Asian Review says today. Malaysian Defence reported about the plans to acquire the P-3Cs previously.

The report, however, states that it was Malaysia that approached Japan for the Orions instead of the other way around. I reported that Japan offered the surplus Orions and Malaysia asked that they were to be donated as the aircraft are intended to be use a gap fuller until we buy something new. Whatever it is there seemed to be traction for the deal to happen. The downside is that the Orions to be handed over would have some 15,000 hours on them.

Japan P-3C. JMSDF

As the aircraft first entered service in 1981, it is likely that the aircraft to be donated are those delivered around that time though they could also be the last batch of the 110 which were delivered. Some 80 P-3Cs remained in service from original 110, most of them manufactured in Japan by Kawasaki Aerospace Company. The Orions are being replaced by the indigenous MPA, the P-1, also manufactured by Kawasaki.

Kawasaki P-1. JMSDF

From Asian Nikkei Review

TOKYO: Japan is looking to donate retired military patrol aircraft to Malaysia, letting that Southeast Asian country keep closer watch over the South China Sea to rein in China’s maritime expansion.

Parliament is currently weighing revisions to the foundational law of the Ministry of Defense that would allow equipment to be given to other nations at no cost. Currently, some form of compensation is legally required for any national asset. Malaysia will likely be the first beneficiary once that change is made, receiving P-3C patrol aircraft previously used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force.

P-3Cs, developed by Lockheed Martin of the U.S., are equipped with radar and other capabilities letting them detect and monitor suspicious ships and submarines. Kawasaki Heavy Industries manufactured the aircraft under a license agreement for a time, though that production has since ended. The Maritime Self-Defense Force has 60 or so of the aircraft in operation, and plans to retire those that have logged around 15,000 hours in flight.

Malaysia approached Japan about adding P-3Cs to its fleet, according to an official at the Defense Ministry’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency. Japan will hand the retired aircraft over after making renovations. The plan is to remove technologies such as high-performance radar used to detect submarines, which could qualify as defence secrets.

Tokyo aims to reach an agreement with Kuala Lumpur on the transfer of defence equipment and technology in short order to clear the way for a hand-off. The deal must accord with Japan’s key principles regarding such transfers, which aim to ensure transparency, security and compliance with international law.

Japan will also conduct a review of the plan to ensure that neither defence equipment nor the technology involved will fall into China’s hands, and plans to obtain permission for the transfer under the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations, due to the P-3Cs’ American origins.

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— Malaysian Defence

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