In a move sending ripples across the South China Sea, the Philippine Navy sank a decommissioned tanker with a C-Star anti-ship cruise missile during the recent Balikatan 2024 war games.

This dramatic display of firepower, which occurred last Wednesday (May 8) morning, marked the culmination of the two-week exercise that saw the Philippines, the United States, and Australia honing their combined military capabilities in the disputed waters.

Sharpening Naval Teeth: The C-Star Missile and Beyond

Beyond the spectacle of the sinking Balikatan, 2024 signaled a significant shift in the Philippines’ military posture.

This year’s iteration, the largest and most complex in recent memory, showcased a multi-pronged approach:

Sharpened Naval Teeth

The Philippine Navy’s successful deployment of the C-Star missile (SSM-700K)—fired off the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150)—marked a turning point.

This live-fire exercise demonstrated their growing capacity for long-range deterrence, potentially altering the regional balance of power.