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Updated December 31st, 2023 at 14:50 IST

Philippines gears up with BrahMos cruise missiles in 2024 to counter Chinese military threat

The Philippines is poised to strengthen its maritime deterrence against China in the South China Sea with the imminent delivery of Indian-made BrahMos missiles.

Yuvraj Tyagi
BrahMos missiles
BrahMos missiles | Image:PIB
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The Philippines is set to enhance its maritime deterrence capabilities against China in the South China Sea with the imminent delivery of the Indian-made BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. This strategic acquisition, signed in 2022, signifies a pivotal move in safeguarding the nation's extensive coastline and asserting territorial sovereignty. 

The BrahMos missiles, named after the Indian Brahmaputra and Russian Moskova rivers, are poised to join the Philippines' naval arsenal within a week. The induction of these supersonic cruise missiles not only fortifies the country's response capabilities but also sends a resounding geostrategic signal to potential adversaries about its unwavering commitment to defending its territorial claims.

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A Chinse Coast Guard ship blocks the way of a Philippine supply boat. | Credit- AP

Amidst growing tensions in the South China Sea, the Philippines is emerging as a key player in the region by joining the select group of Southeast Asian nations equipped with supersonic anti-ship cruise missile capabilities. The BrahMos system adds a formidable layer of defense, aligning with the nation's broader military modernization plans. 

Philippines marines prepared for BrahMos operations 

Credit- AP

In a significant development, a group of twenty-one Philippines Marines recently completed intensive hands-on training focused on operating and maintaining the BrahMos anti-ship supersonic cruise missile. This training initiative, conducted between January 23 and February 11, 2023, not only enhances operational readiness but also underscores the commitment to effective utilization of this advanced weaponry. 

The Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, Admiral R Hari Kumar, presented interim missile badges and pins to the trained personnel at the valedictory ceremony. This training milestone marks a crucial step in the Philippines' journey toward bolstering its maritime capabilities and increasing its preparedness for potential regional challenges. 

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The Philippines Ministry of Defense formally announced the issuance of a notice of award to BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd on December 31, 2021, marking the culmination of extensive efforts to secure this advanced missile system. Priced at $374 million, the BrahMos deal is a testament to the enduring partnership between India and Russia in jointly developing cutting-edge military technologies.

A Philippine soldier handles a Carl Gustaf during join drills with U.S., April 2023. | Credit- AP

The delivery of the BrahMos missile system comes at a critical juncture, coinciding with heightened tensions between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea. This strategic move not only addresses immediate security concerns but also positions the Philippines as a proactive player in the ever-evolving geopolitical landscape. 

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Philippines' military upgrade 

The delivery of the BrahMos missile system aligns with the Philippines' broader military modernization efforts, which have faced challenges, particularly exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. In the face of an increasingly assertive China, the Philippines has accelerated its acquisition plans, earmarking a significant budget for defense operations in 2024. 

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The nation's commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities is evident in the planned acquisitions of various military assets, including C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifters, Acero-class gunboats, landing dock platforms, corvettes, and offshore patrol vessels. Additionally, the decision to acquire submarines reflects the Philippines' determination to address evolving security challenges effectively.  

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Published December 31st, 2023 at 14:50 IST

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