Discussing the Japanese J/TPS-P14ME Mobile Radar of the Philippine Air Force

The discussion of having air defense capabilities always dwells more on static air defense surveillance radar stations, mobile ground-based air defense system batteries that can fire guided munitions against intruding targets, and air interceptors like light fighter trainer aircraft and multirole fighter jets designed to provide air deterrence and eliminate threats outside the confines of the country's ground-based air defense.

In this topic, a single mobile air defense surveillance radar station gets a discussion, whereby it comes as a package deal along with the static air defense surveillance radars that the Philippine Air Force has purchased and as discussed previously here on this website.

J/TPS-P14ME, Philippine Air Force, Mobile Radar, Mitsubishi Electric, PAF, Mitsubishi FUSO Truck
A set of platforms that comprise the J/TPS-P14ME Radar, installed onboard a Mitsubishi Fuso Truck.
Image from the Philippine Air Force, shared through this link.

In the previous discussions provided regarding air defense systems, the topics encompass from prospective fighter aircraft of both multirole and light fighter/trainer roles, if not for ground-based air defense systems and static air surveillance radar stations that can detect intruding threats from afar, covering a significant portion of the country’s air defense. This development adds to the Philippine Air Force’s mechanism of monitoring the country’s Air Defense Identification Zone or ADIZ.

This refers to the recent turn-over of the Mitsubishi Electric’s J/TPS-P14ME mobile radar platform, as depicted on the image as a single battery of units that form this platform, as it comprises a command platform, the radar itself, and a support vehicle. 

All the units, though, come with the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter trucks as the primary chassis of the presented mobile radar platform, as the chassis also comes with other uses in the country’s own civilian trucking industry.

The turn-over took place on April 29, 2024, in the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, of which this comes with an attendance of both the National Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and Japan’s state minister of defense Oniki Makoto. This ceremony depicts a significant improvement in the Philippine Air Force’s detection of its airspace, of which it gives the flexibility of having radar coverage on areas not covered by static air surveillance radar stations, yet.

Mitsubishi Electric’s J/TPS-P14ME comes as an offer packaged with the primary acquisition deal with the Philippine Air Force, of which it primarily focuses more on the J/FPS-3ME static air surveillance radar stations as part of the 2nd phase of implementing the air surveillance coverage, which comes as part of enforcing the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone or PADIZ. The first phase primarily comes with ELM-2288 ER air surveillance radar for the air force’s air defense monitoring duties.

For this topic, the discussion will only cover the technology and other components that form the J/TPS-P14ME mobile radar station, along with the salient features that come with having such a platform as compared to static radar stations deployed across the country. 

As the history of Mitsubishi Electric already discussed in the J/FPS-3ME article as linked here, the rest of the discussion will delve primarily into the specifications of the platform and the choice of the truck chassis as presented in the image above.

J/TPS-P14ME, J/TPS-P14, J/FPS-3ME, J-FPS-3, Mitsubishi Electric, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone, PADIZ, Philippine Air Defense
Mobile, remotely-deployed air surveillance radar stations are just as essential as the more-capable static radar stations such as the J/FPS-3ME radar.
Image Source.

As the Philippine Air Force maintained static radar stations through the years, even before the time that the newer ones from both Israel and Japan have recently entered active duty within the service branch, any idea of mobile radar stations comes relatively new to the organization, in a manner similar to how Spyder Philippines Air Defense System or SPADS from Rafael Systems Ltd come as relatively new air defense capability that enhances the security of the country’s national airspace.

From the functionalities standpoint, both the mobile and static air surveillance radar installations come with a similar purpose of actively monitoring the large portion of the country’s airspace with one significant difference between the two installations mentioned. 

Static air surveillance radars, as its description suggests, come as fixed facilities that usually station in high elevations on areas highly strategic enough to cover the country’s national airspace.

Mobile radar platforms, such as the Mitsubishi Electric J/TPS-P14ME, have the capability of getting deployed into areas that the end user desires to have, of which this is useful in an event of a full-blown conflict where it is likely that strategic and fixed radar facilities getting destroyed, rendering the defense forces blind from any intrusions coming from the sky. Its mobile deployment ensures continuous monitoring of the country’s airspace and ensures full airspace defense, while being deployable everywhere in the country to avoid detection from enemy forces.

One advantage that the likes of J/TPS-P14ME mobile radar might bring for the Philippine Air Force is that it can go on tandem with the Spyder Ground-based Air Defense System platforms in a single area, enhancing the capability of wide radar coverage to the guided radar system and detection of air defense batteries for its operators to fire surface-to-air missiles against a threat. 

It is also a bonus for the unit to share data with other units through C4ISTAR, such as the country’s air bases, for the deployment of fighter jet interceptors for additional enforcement.

Overall, having a mobile radar system provides additional flexibility for the Philippine Air Force, not only in effectively providing additional air cover in areas of the country’s airspace that requires its operation, but also in putting additional capabilities in enforcing the country’s Air Defense Identification Zone that ensures continuous airspace monitoring operations that shares real-time information with other units. It also provides additional redundancy to the air force’s fixed radar installations in the country.

J/TPS-P14ME, Philippine Air Force, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, JGSDF, PAF, Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone
The radar module of the J/TPS-P14ME can get dismounted from the vehicle platform it comes with.
From Wikimedia Commons.

As the prospective static radar stations provide comprehensive 360-degree scope and coverage of the portion of the Philippine airspace as part of implementing the country's Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone by the Philippine Air Force, the J/TPS-P14ME radar platform possess its capabilities, some of which have already mentioned such as its mobility and immediate deployment in different areas of the country. Another capability it possesses is the one that has depicted in the image above.

The radar module of the J/TPS-P14ME has the capability of getting detached from its mobile platform, which, in this case, for the Philippine Air Force, is the Mitsubishi Fuso Canter truck chassis

This is ideal for temporary base deployment for a unit of the Philippine military to get its air defense in effect, again going in tandem with the service branch's Spyder Ground-based Air Defense Systems from Israel's Rafael Advanced Systems, providing a full secured airspace in an area desired by its end-user.

With this is the mainstay mobile radar of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, or JGSDF, the J/TPS-P14ME sports a design purpose of having a three-dimensional target detection and tracking of targeted aircraft and other types in both medium and high altitudes. Going further, the radar system has an instrumented range of 250 nautical miles (463 km), ensuring extensive surveillance coverage, all thanks to its S-band frequency range needed to attain this feature.

This means that once the J/TPS-P14ME radar module gets deployed off the coast of Palawan, for example, it will have the coverage that goes beyond the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone, providing airspace cover for the island from any intruding aircraft from the western part of the country, especially from Chinese-made artificial islands that might have likely have any military aircraft deployed in its area. Its detection range and mobility give this radar platform its own advantage.

Given the details provided regarding the capabilities of the J/TPS-P14ME mobile radar that Mitsubishi Electric has provided to the Philippine Air Force, aside from the static J/FPS-3ME air surveillance radar platforms, it is clear from this point that the air service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines benefit to the same radar technology as the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. Moving on to the topic, another point of discussion is with the system's continuous development.

J/TPS-P5, J/TPS-P14ME, Philippine Air Force, PAF, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, JGSDF
Before the J/TPS-P14ME, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force maintains the older J/TPS-P5.
From Wikimedia Commons.

As the Philippine Air Force became the first country aside from Japan that operates the Mitsubishi Electric J/FPS-3ME air surveillance radar platforms deployed across the country, the same goes with the J/TPS-P14ME mobile radar platform, whereby the Philippine Air Force, along with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force or JGSDF, are the ones that currently operate such type of air defense detection suite. The latter comes with different variants of mobile radar platforms in its current use.

One of those is the older J/TPS-P5 mobile radar platform, an S-band air surveillance mobile radar module that was introduced to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in 1971, featuring its capability that uses intra-pulse modulation and a pulse compression rate of 25. 

The J/TPS-P14 replaced the J/TPS-P5 in its introduction in 1988, and became one of the mainstay mobile radar modules of the JGSDF, with its first export prospect being the Philippines, with the Philippine Air Force its first overseas user.

Currently, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force or JGSDF slowly introduces a newer type of mobile radar module that intends to replace the J/TPS-P14 radar, of which this is called the J/TPS-P25 advanced radar module. This X-band 3D surveillance and acquisition radar comes with a four-phased array antenna, an improved development compared to the S-band features that both the J/TPS-P14 and the previous J/TPS-P5 mobile radar platforms have.

As the advancements introduced on the J/TPS-P5 mobile radar platform in both of its radar module and the vehicle it typically comes with, it is likely be that the J/TPS-P14ME radar that both the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the Philippine Air Force operate receives continuous support in the upcoming years, especially that the newer J/TPS-P25 radar has recently entered service in the early 2010s, since Mitsubishi Electric introduced this platform for the use of the Japanese Self-Defence Force.

With the Philippine Air Force having the J/TPS-P14ME radar in its operations, it gives a likely chance that this service branch gets more of this type in any future acquisition projects, if not pursuing the newer J/TPS-P25 as all the purchase prospects still depends on the actual requirements of the Philippine Air Force for its air defense purposes. Still, just having a single system of the J/TPS-P14ME makes the Philippines the first overseas user, and second from Japan itself, that operates this system.

J/TPS-P14ME, J/TPS-P25, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, JGSDF, Philippine Air Force, PAF, Mitsubishi Electric
JGSDF’s J/TPS-P25 mobile radar.
From Wikimedia Commons.

Getting some mobile radar systems alongside highly functional air surveillance radar stations deployed across the country count as a huge win for the country’s implementation of the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone or PADIZ, as it comes alongside the Philippine Air Force’s desire to improve the country’s capability in securing its own airspace. By 2028, the radar coverage will come at around 100%, under the Area Readiness 1 of the PADIZ implementation.

The acquisition of the J/TPS-P14ME alongside the J/FPS-3ME air surveillance radar from Mitsubishi Electric serve as a testament of an ever-growing bilateral relations between Japan and the Philippines, particularly in areas like national defense and security, as it is timely amidst the growing uncertainty in the Indo-Pacific region. In context, both Japan and the Philippines face aggression and worries from an ever-assertive China, whereby any conflict with this country risks the current order in the region.

Japan’s own-made radar stations set precedent to any future weapons and arms offer that the country might provide to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in its entirety, specifically that it already provided several offers for consideration, with some already pushed through for acquisition. One of those pushed through is the Bell 412 EPX Utility Helicopters for the Philippine Air Force, of which it is currently in production by Subaru Corporation that augments its existing Bell 412EP Helicopters in service.

Aside from the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Army has also likely benefited from this improving security and defense relations between the Philippines and Japan, as this has already shown through the offers and‌ plans that provide the Philippine Army’s Aviation ‘Hiraya’ Regiment with helicopters of various types. Notably, this refers to both the UH-1J Combat Utility Helicopters and the AH-1S Cobra Attack Helicopters, as the Japanese defense doctrine renders these platforms irrelevant.

Describing the entire scope of this topic, the Philippine Air Force benefits in the advancement of its air surveillance radar technology, as it couples with both advanced static radar stations and mobile, readily deployed radar modules, all of which getting the perks that have with the Japanese technology also used by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. 

Japanese radar technology, coupled with Israeli-made ones, helps secure the Philippine airspace from unwanted intruders that might pose a threat to its national security by providing a round-the-clock surveillance to implement such needed air defense mechanisms.

(c) 2024 PDA.

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