In the month of December 2023, the Philippines will receive the first delivery of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile enabling its navy to face a threat and secure its maritime interest from the expansionist Peoples’s Republic of China (PRC).
The director of BrahMos Aerospace, Praveen Pathak, revealed that the export of Indian Missiles would take place in December 2023 at the ongoing Philippines Defence Exhibition (2023). “Hopefully, no extreme weather conditions will be there. We are moving ahead to achieve our goals,” he explained to a journalist in the Philippines.
Besides the missiles, this deal offers integrated logistics support packages and training for operators and maintainers. Given China’s aggression and hegemonic activities, the supersonic cruise missile will provide deterrence value to the Philippines.
At the Philippines Defence Expo, BrahMos Aerospace has exhibited that the supersonic cruise missile can be put on boats, submarines, destroyers and frigates besides the land and other versions.
BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between India and Russia that signed a contract worth 375 million USD on January 28, 2022, to supply three cruise missile batteries to the Philippines. It has a 400km range, a speed of Mach 2.8, and a powerful warhead that can pierce the toughest steel hulls.
Each battery comprises two missile launchers, a radar and a command-and-control centre, and it can fire two missiles within ten seconds. This is the first major military export by India.
The organisation is also developing other versions of the missiles besides developing a Hypersonic Cruise Missile that will have a speed of Mach 8 and a possible range of 600 kilometres. It is based on a ‘fire and forget principle’, which means that it requires little guidance when launched from a platform.
It is also a multiplatform missile that can be launched from air, sea and land and has multi capability missile with pinpoint accuracy that works in all weather conditions and during day and night.
It is one of the fastest supersonic missile systems in the world, which is three times faster than the speed of sound.
Towards the end of last month, the Chinese Navy reportedly engaged two Philippines Coast Guard vessels in dangerous manoeuvres that amounted to a ‘confrontation’ in the South China Sea.
In the past few months, the Philippines has been under intense pressure from China regarding sovereignty and territorial integrity in the South China Sea (SCS).
Additionally, the twenty-one Philippines Navy personnel underwent rigorous training in Nagpur from January 2023 till February 2023 and were subsequently honoured with interim missile badges by Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar.
For the Philippines, the purpose behind acquiring the supersonic cruise missile is to improve its coastal defence. The Coastal Defence Regiment of the Philippine Marines will use it.
BrahMos is derived by joining two words named after major rivers in India and Russia, the Brahmaputra and Moskva, respectively. It has been jointly developed by The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India and NPO Mashinostroyeniya of the Russian Federation.
This sale enables India to ensure its position as a reliable defence partner to its South-East Asian Neighbours. The deployment of the cruise missile on the archipelago’s western flank will provide the Philippines with an option to employ Anti-Access and Anti -Denial strategy to protect its territorial integrity, especially in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
It will also tilt the balance of power in favour of Manila and contribute to stability in the Indo-Pacific. Other South-East Asian countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand have expressed their deep interest in buying the weapon platform.
However, it may be premature to say that the BrahMos will prove to be a game-changer for Manila, the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) has limited the range of the missile to just 290 kilometres.