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The Philippines is flexing its military muscle in the disputed South China Sea by constructing its first land-based BrahMos anti-ship missile base. This move comes amid ongoing tensions with China over territorial claims in the resource-rich region.

Recent satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies and Planet Labs has shed light on the new base’s development. The images reveal key facilities, including a high bay for missile maintenance and testing, and a separate, secure structure for storing the BrahMos missiles themselves.

China has been accused of increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea, including deploying military forces, establishing artificial islands, and harassing fishing vessels from other countries. The Philippines’ decision to build the BrahMos missile base is widely seen as a countermeasure to China’s growing assertiveness in the region.

The deployment of BrahMos missiles in the Philippines significantly enhances the country’s ability to deter any potential threats in the South China Sea. The missiles’ long range allows them to reach targets across a vast swathe of the disputed waters, sending a clear message to China.