The Philippines will purchase at least two batteries of BrahMos cruise missiles with each battery having three mobile automatic launchers.
The Philippines’ plan to buy the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile from India will help the country’s armed forces increase their ability to protect coastal areas amid rising tensions between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea. On December 27, the Philippine News Agency reported that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had approved the initial funding requirements of the “Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.
The Philippines will purchase at least two batteries of BrahMos cruise missiles with each battery having three mobile automatic launchers. Each launchers will consist of two to three missile tubes. India claims it has the capability of attacking surface targets by flying as low as five metres in altitude and the maximum altitude it can fly is 15,000 metres. It has a diameter of 70 cm and a wingspan of 1.7 m.
The BrahMos (PJ-10) missile is a product of India’s cooperation with Russia and can be launched from warships, submarines, aircraft and land-based launchers. As a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos is notably one of the fastest supersonic cruise missiles in the world. It can gain a speed of Mach 3.5, and has a maximum range of 650 km.
The procurement process of BrahMos was already in the advanced stage by March 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic halted the process and caused the Philippines reprioritizing its budget. India has offered the Philippines an arrangement to acquire the missiles through soft loan but President Rodrigo Duterte is reportedly not keen on taking the offer.
With this agreement, the Philippines will be India’s first foreign customer to purchase BrahMos cruise missiles. This is also New Delhi’s first major defense equipment sale to Manila – a close US ally in Southeast Asia. Recently, India has moved closer to the US as tensions with China have increased.