Graduates of Philippines’ Brahmos SBASM programme emerge

A batch of 21 operators for the Philippine Marine Corps’ future Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile (SBASM) has completed initial training on operations and maintenance of the weapon system, the service announced on its social media channel.

The Philippine Navy personnel were awarded their interim missile badges and pins by the Indian Navy’s Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Radhakrishnan Hari Kumar following training that was conducted from 23 January to 11 February, the service said.

“The induction of the BrahMos missile into the Philippine Marine Corps will strengthen your maritime capability and will also contribute to our collective maritime security within the region,” Admiral Kumar was quoted as saying.

Initial delivery of the BrahMos missile system to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is expected in 2023, the Indian Embassy in Manila confirmed on the sidelines of India’s 75th Independence Day celebration in August 2022.

The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) signed a contract worth US$375 million for the acquisition of the Indo-Russian BrahMos medium-range supersonic cruise missiles in January 2022.

The deal calls for three missile batteries, each of which comprises mobile launchers – equipped with three missiles each – and associated datalinks and tracking systems.

Depending on the variant, the BrahMos cruise missile can be launched from a ship, aircraft, submarine, or land-based launcher and has a top speed of around Mach 2.8. It can carry warheads weighing up to 300 kg. Based on imagery released by the Marine Corps, it appears that a modified, twin-missile mobile launcher design has been adopted instead of the standard triple-missile configuration used by the Indian armed forces.

The SBASM battalion, activated in April 2022, will be operating the anti-ship missile systems. The Marine Corps have also activated a new unit known as the Shore-Based Air Defense System (SBADS) battalion. According to the AFP news agency, the SBADS will protect SBASM assets from aerial threats during anti-ship missile launch operations.

Both the SBASM and the SBADS are sub-formations of the Marine Corps’ Coastal Defense Regiment, which was also recently stood up in August 2020.

The Philippine Army is also lining up to acquire two BrahMos batteries for coastal defence missions under the third horizon of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernisation Program (RAFPMP), which runs from 2023-2027.

by Jr Ng