By Andreo Calonzo (Bloomberg) The Philippines signed a deal to purchase two corvettes from Hyundai Heavy Industries, beefing up its defense capabilities in a region that has become more militarized due competing claims in the South China Sea. 

The warships, part of a 28 billion-peso ($556 million) project for the Philippine Navy, are capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare missions, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in speech during the signing of the deal on Tuesday.

The country earlier bought two frigates also from Hyundai Heavy, and expects “ease of maintenance and repairs” with a common shipbuilder for all its naval platforms, Lorenzana said. It also plans to sign a deal with PZL Mielec of Poland for 32 Black Hawk helicopters.

The Philippines has been boosting its military strength and is planning a return to full drills with the U.S. amid tensions with Beijing over its expansive territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea. In November, the country accused China of firing water cannons to prevent its boats from resupplying a South China Sea outpost.

Source: gCaptain