Philippines looking at procuring advanced light helicopters from India

New Delhi has been looking at supplying critical military hardware and platforms to countries with whom it has strong strategic ties



Image used for illustrative purposes only
Image used for illustrative purposes only

By PTI

Published: Sun 17 Jul 2022, 8:33 AM

The Philippines is looking at procuring a batch of advanced light helicopters from India to crank up its combat capability, months after sealing a $375 million deal to acquire three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile.

Top officials in the security and defence establishment told PTI on Sunday that the Philippines has shown keen interest in procurement of a number of advanced light helicopters (ALH) to replace its ageing chopper fleet.

It is learnt the two sides are holding talks on the proposed acquisition.

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

The officials said the Philippines has also been impressed by the performance of India's indigenously-developed Tejas light combat aircraft and could consider procuring it as the country continues its hunt for a fleet of fighter jets.

The Philippines is a key strategic partner of India in the Southeast Asian region and the bilateral defence and security ties have been on an upswing in the last few years, especially in the maritime domain.

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

In January, the Philippines concluded a $375 million deal with India for procurement of three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile.

BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russian joint venture, produces supersonic cruise missiles that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land platforms.

In a related development, India signed a framework agreement with the Philippines in March that provided for government-to-government deals for supply of defence hardware and equipment.

India has been looking at supplying critical military hardware and platforms to countries with whom it has strong strategic ties and convergence of interests.

The Tejas aircraft has already emerged as the top choice for Malaysia as the country is looking at replacing its ageing fleet of fighter jets.

Malaysia has already narrowed down on the Indian aircraft notwithstanding stiff competition from China's JF-17 jet, South Korea's FA-50 and Russia's Mig-35 as well as Yak-130.

Tejas, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, is a single-engine and highly agile multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments.

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