Japan is considering transferring its decommissioned military helicopters to the Philippines to boost its defense capabilities, according to a high-ranking Filipino army official.
Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. of the Philippine Army revealed that the proposal was made during a recent defense meeting of representatives from the US, Japan, and Manila.
According to the official, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force chief Yoshihide Yoshida asked him about what the Southeast Asian nation needs to beef up its military capabilities.
“So, I told Gen. Yoshida, the Philippine Army needs aircraft, particularly helicopters. He said that they will look into the possibility of giving the Philippine Army a grant of helicopters,” he said, as quoted by ABS-CBN News.
Brawner clarified that although Tokyo signified its intent to donate military choppers to its ally, nothing has been finalized yet.
The announcement comes amid Tokyo’s plan to replace several manned aircraft with unmanned platforms.
Japan will reportedly retire 12 AH-64D combat helicopters, 47 AH-1S anti-tank attack helicopters, and 33 OH-1 observation helicopters.
Although Brawner did not provide specific details regarding the type of helicopters potentially sent to Manila, he said that the aircraft are “still usable and reliable.”
Additionally, he said that the choppers will only be used for non-combat operations should the grant push through.
“They will be used for supplying troops and air evacuation of wounded troops and similar non-combat activities. There’s no number yet but we are requesting for more than one,” the official stressed.