The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) plans to introduce an early warning system for aircraft in the area, calling for proposals for the project to be put forth by the end of August. Japan is preparing a bid to supply Malaysia its J/FPS-3 air-defence radar to meet a long-range surveillance requirement within the RMAF. The bid is likely to be channelled through Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, rather than an intergovernment agreement between the two countries.
For Malaysia, strengthening airspace surveillance capability is an urgent matter. On May 31 this year, the RMAF confirmed 16 Chinese military transport planes had flown in the vicinity of Malaysia’s airspace, and announced Kuala Lumpur had scrambled RMAF jets. The Chinese military planes were reported flying in tactical formation about 60 nautical miles (about 110 kilometers) off the Malaysian coastline, near the coast of Borneo.
The J/FPS-3 is an active phased array radar system that provides enhanced detection and tracking capabilities when compared to conventional radar systems. It has both long-range and short-range antennas, and its pseudo radio wave generator is useful for electronic warfare purposes. Though have a similar designation with AN/FPS-5 nodding height-finding radar, there is no relationship between the systems.
Japan has concluded its first export sale of major defense equipment, with the Philippines signing a contract for Mitsubishi Electric J/FPS-3 active electronically scanned array radar and J/TPS-P14 mobile air surveillance radars to cover potential flashpoints around the country, including the South China Sea. The easing of restrictions on arms sales was part of a push by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reform Japan’s defense posture and boost Japan’s domestic defense industry.