The Philippines has completed a deal to acquire a shore-based anti-ship missile system from India for nearly $375 million to beef up its navy, the Southeast Asian nation's defence minister said.
The Philippines is in the early stages of a five-year, $5.3 billion project to modernise its military's outdated hardware that includes warships from World War Two and helicopters used by the United States in the Vietnam War.
In a Facebook post late on Friday, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that Brahmos Aerospace Private Ltd will deliver three batteries, train operators and maintainers, and provide logistics support under the deal negotiated with the government of India.
It was started in 2017 but has had delays in budget allocation due to the coronaviruses.
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 bought Israeli-made Spike ER missiles, its first ship-borne missile systems for maritime deterrence.
Despite the friendlier ties between China and the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, Beijing has remained adamant in claim of large parts of the South China SeaChina Sea, a conduit for goods in excess of $3.4 trillion a year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have also lodged competing claims.
A 2016 international arbitration ruling said the Chinese claims had no legal basis.