The Philippines has finalized a deal to acquire a shore-based anti-ship missile system from India for nearly $375 million to reinforce its navy, the Southeast Asian nation’s defense minister said.
The Philippines is in the late stages of a five-year, $5.85 billion project to modernize its military’s outdated hardware that includes warships from World War Two and helicopters used by the US in the Vietnam War.
Under the deal negotiated with the government of India, Brahmos Aerospace Private Ltd will deliver three batteries, train operators and maintainers, and provide logistics support, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a Facebook post late on Friday.
It was conceptualized in 2017 but faced delays in budget allocation and due to COVID-19.
The new anti-ship system aims to deter foreign vessels from encroaching on the country’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
An exclusive economic zone, as prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention, is an area of the sea in which a sovereign state has special rights to use the area for exploration and marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.
In 2018, the Philippines bought Israeli-made Spike ER missiles, its first-ever 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.