India’s BrahMos Aerospace and the Philippines are set to sign a deal on Friday for the Philippine Marines to acquire three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile in a deal worth nearly $375 million.
The news: The development will be a significant boost to India’s efforts to become a defence hardware exporter, and it may pave the way for more Southeast Asian nations to acquire the missile jointly developed by India and Russia.
- According to the sources, the agreement will be signed at an event at the Philippines’ Department of National Defense in Quezon City. Delfin Lorenzana, the Philippine defence secretary, will be among those in attendance.
- Lorenzana announced on January 14 that he had signed the “notice of award,” or acceptance of India’s proposal to supply the missile, for the Philippine Navy’s shore-based anti-ship missile acquisition project.
- The defence agreement will not go down well with China, whose aggressive behaviour in the disputed South China Sea has brought relations with the Philippines to a new low. The Philippine Marines intend to use the BrahMos as a shore-based anti-ship missile, and the South China Sea is one of the potential deployment areas.
- The agreement includes the delivery of three batteries, operator and maintainer training, and an integrated logistics support (ILS) package. The BrahMos deal was conceived in 2017, and the Philippines president’s office approved its inclusion in the military’s “Horizon 2 Priority Projects” in 2020.
- The Philippines was set to become the first country to purchase the BrahMos missile system, according to the Hindustan Times in December 2019. Both parties were eager to sign the agreement during President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposed visit in early 2021, but the plan fell through due to widespread disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Lorenzana signed a notice of award on December 31, 2021, valuing the BrahMos deal at $374.962 million. The Philippines government allocated 2.8 billion pesos ($55.5 million) in initial funding for the weapon system last month.
In addition: As part of the acquisition process, a team from the Philippine Navy visited the BrahMos Aerospace production facility in Hyderabad in December.
- Lorenzana has stated that the Philippine Marines’ Coastal Defense Regiment will be the primary user of “this modern strategic defence capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”
- The BrahMos deal is being hailed as a game changer, as India’s previous defence exports have included avionics, coastal surveillance systems, radar spares, personal protective equipment, and offshore patrol vessels.
The agreement with the Philippines could pave the way for additional sales of the BrahMos – which has a range of 290 kilometres and can carry a 200-kg warhead – to other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia, which have been in talks for the weapon system for several years.