MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines has finalized a deal to acquire a land-based anti-ship missile system from India for nearly $375 million to bolster its navy, the country’s defense minister said. Southeast Asian nation.
The Philippines is in the final stages of a five-year, 300 billion peso ($5.85 billion) project to modernize its military’s outdated hardware, which includes World War II warships and helicopters used by the United States during the Vietnam War.
Under the deal brokered with the Indian government, Brahmos Aerospace Private Ltd will supply three batteries, train operators and maintainers and provide logistical support, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a Facebook post on Friday.
It was conceptualized in 2017, but experienced 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.
In 2018, the Philippines purchased Israeli-made Spike ER missiles, its first-ever shipborne missile systems for maritime deterrence.
Despite friendlier ties between China and the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, Beijing has remained adamant in claiming large parts of the South China Sea, a conduit for goods worth more than $3.4 trillion each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have also filed competing claims.
A 2016 international arbitration award, however, said China’s claims had no legal basis.
($1 = 51.31 Philippine pesos)
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)