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The Philippines wants to buy India's advanced light helicopters

Aiming to crank up its combat capability and replace its ageing chopper fleet, Filipino officials have shown interest in procurement of a number of advanced light helicopters from India.

After BrahMos, now the Philippines wants India's advanced light helicopters
New Delhi, First Published Jul 17, 2022, 10:36 AM IST

Months after the Philippines sealed a $375 million deal to acquire three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile, the country is now looking to buy a batch of advanced light helicopters from India.

Aiming to crank up its combat capability and replace its ageing chopper fleet, Filipino officials have shown interest in procuring advanced light helicopters from India.

Also Read: BrahMos for Philippines: Why India's gains go much beyond $374.9 million

In the face of the decades-long territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea and security challenges arising from it, the Southeast Asian nation has been focusing on modernising its military. 

Top officials in the security and defence establishment told news agency PTI that the two sides are holding talks on the proposed acquisition. 

The indigenously developed twin-engine, multi-role ALH helicopter is a new generation helicopter in the 5.5-ton weight class. The ALH is viewed as an effective platform for various military operations. 

According to officials, the Philippines is also impressed by the performance of India's indigenously-developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft. Sources said that the country might consider procuring the Tejas for its fighter aircraft fleet.

The Philippines is India's key strategic partner in the Southeast Asian region. Security and bilateral defence relations between the two countries have risen in the last few years. 

The Philippines is also a member of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an influential bloc with whom India's ties have witnessed a major expansion in the last decade. 

The Philippines concluded a $375-million deal with India in January this year for the procurement of three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile. 

In March, India and the Philippines inked a framework agreement providing for government-to-government deals for the supply of defence equipment and hardware.

India has been assisting countries with whom it has strong strategic ties and convergence of interests, supplying them with critical military hardware and platforms. 

Single-engine and highly-agile multi-role supersonic Tejas fighter aircraft has already emerged as the top choice for Malaysia over China's JF-17 jet, Russia's Mig-35 and  Yak-130 and South Korea's FA-50. 

India has already placed an order with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for 83 Tejas fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force worth Rs 48,000 crore. At the same time, work is already underway to build a MK 2 version of the Tejas and on an ambitious $5-billion project to develop a fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft. 

The defence ministry has set a five-year goal of a turnover of Rs 1.75 lakh crore in defence manufacturing, including an export target of Rs 35,000 crore worth of military hardware. 

Also Read: Mauritius buys Advanced Light Helicopter Mk III from India

(With PTI inputs)

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