Philippines finalises deal to buy $375 million missile system from India

The Southeast Asian nation is upgrading its outdated military hardware

Filipino soldiers wave from the dilapidated 'Sierra Madre' ship of the Philippine Navy in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, in 2015. Photo: Reuters

The Philippines has finalised a deal to acquire a shore-based anti-ship missile system from India for almost $375 million to beef up its navy, Reuters cited the Southeast Asian nation's defence minister as saying.

Under the agreement, Brahmos Aerospace Private Ltd will deliver three batteries, train operators and maintainers, and provide logistics support, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

The Philippines is in the late stages of a five-year, 300 billion peso ($5.85 billion) project to modernise its military's outdated hardware that includes warships from the Second World War and helicopters used by the US in the Vietnam War.

It was conceptualised in 2017, but faced delays in budget allocation and due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new anti-ship system aims to deter foreign vessels from encroaching on the country's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Philippines Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana. AFP

In 2018, the Philippines bought Israeli-made Spike ER missiles, its first ship-borne missile systems for maritime deterrence.

Despite friendlier ties between China and the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, Beijing has remained adamant in claiming large portions of the South China Sea, a conduit for goods in excess of $3.4 trillion every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have lodged competing claims.

A 2016 international arbitration ruling, however, said the Chinese claims had no legal basis.

Updated: January 15th 2022, 6:26 AM