Finally: The Philippines Buys World's Fastest Cruise Missiles
The Philippines is set to acquire cruise missiles developed by BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd., a defense joint venture run by India and Russia. The deal was negotiated with the Indian government.
The BrahMos missiles are touted as the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missiles that have a range of up to 400 kilometers and a speed of 2.5 mach or over twice the speed of sound.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana disclosed the move in a Facebook post on January 14. He signed the notice of award to BrahMos, which is worth $374 million or P19.18 billion. He expects the first delivery of the missile systems within one year.
Missiles for the Philippines’ Coastal Defense
According to Lorenzana, the missiles will be used for the coastal defense of the Philippines.
“The Coastal Defense Regiment of the Philippine Marines will be the primary employer of this modern strategic defense capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” wrote Lorenzana.
According to Lorenzana, the deal was conceptualized as early as 2017 and includes the delivery of three missile batteries. According the document published by the secretary, the Philippines ordered shore-based anti-ship variants of the BrahMos missiles.
Philippine Navy spokesperson Commander Benjo Negranza said the BrahMos missiles will significantly ehnance the country’s ability to defend itself. “The (Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project) is a big capability enhancement for the end-user,” Negranza was quoted in a report by the Philippine News Agency.
BrahMos Missile Features
According to the manufacturer’s website, the BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage, which brings it to supersonic speed when it gets separated. The second-stage boosters uses liquid ramjet, which accelerates the missile’s speed to nearly mach 3 or three times the speed of sound.
“Stealth technology and guidance system with advanced embedded software provides the missile with special features,” writes BrahMos.
This simply means the BrahMos missile was engineered so it will be very difficult to shoot it down once it is launched.
Among its special features are low radar signature, high supersonic speed throughout the flight, and shorter flight times, which means the target will have little time to counter or engage the missile.
The Philippines is the first buyer of the BrahMos Missile
The Economic Times describes the BrahMos missile deal as a “major boost to India’s defense export plans.”
As of this writing, the Philippines is the only foreign country to have purchased the Indian-Russian cruise missile from BrahMos. The deal is expected to strengthen the defense ties between India and the Philippines, which have not traditionally kept close defense or military ties.
“The BrahMos order is the first major military export by India,” wrote the Economic Times.
The Philippines’ go-signal for BrahMos to produce the order will likely attract more buyers.
India’s ties with the Philippines have significantly increased as tensions in the West Philippine Sea have heightened in the past years.
India has also seen itself becoming more involved in the South China Sea, making its presence felt in the region by sending its own fleet of warships to conduct exercises in the area.