India delivers Brahmos missiles to Philippines

The BrahMos Missile System passes through the Rajpath during the 60th Republic Day Parade.
The BrahMos Missile System passes through the Rajpath during the 60th Republic Day Parade.

The first batch of BrahMos supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles from India has been delivered to the Philippines by an Indian Air Force C-17 transport aircraft. The missiles arrived at Clark International Airport in Pampanga on 19 April, according to Indian media.

The Brahmos will be used by the Philippine Marine Corps to build its Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile (SBASM) system.

The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) signed a contract worth approximately 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 earlier released by the Marine Corps on its social media channel, it appears that a modified, twin-missile mobile launcher design has been adopted instead of the standard triple-missile launcher configuration used by the Indian armed forces.

The SBASM battalion, activated in April 2022, will be operating the anti-ship missile system. 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 seeking to acquire two BrahMos batteries for coastal defence missions under the third tranche, known as ‘Horizon Three’, of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernisation Program (RAFPMP) which runs from 2023-2027.

by Jr Ng