January 29, 2024
MANILA – The Philippines will “soon” take delivery of its first batch of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, Indian Ambassador to Manila Shambhu Kumaran said.
A representative from the weapons manufacturer said last year that the missiles were set for delivery in December 2023.
“We’re working toward the earliest possible arrival. I don’t have a timeline at this moment, but it’s gonna be soon,” Kumaran told reporters on the sidelines of the Indian Embassy’s 75th Republic Day reception in Makati City last week.
He did not confirm a report from India’s The Economic Times quoting an official from the Defence Research and Development Organization on Jan. 25 that the export process would begin “in the next 10 days” and would arrive in the Philippines by March.
“I don’t have details to share on that at this moment but we are working toward that, and I think we should have news for you soon,” Kumaran said.
A senior military official privy to the BrahMos delivery but was not authorized to speak to the press told the Inquirer that the missiles are expected to arrive in the Philippines “within the first quarter” of the year.
The Philippines signed an P18.9-billion deal with BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd.—an Indian-Russian joint venture—in January 2022 for three batteries of the cruise missiles as part the Philippine Navy’s shore-based antiship missile system project.
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“As the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missiles, the BrahMos missiles will provide deterrence against any attempt to undermine our sovereignty and sovereign rights, especially in the West Philippines Sea,” then Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said during the contract signing.
The Philippine Marine Corps’ (PMC) Coastal Defense Regiment will be the primary user of the BrahMos system. Some PMC personnel trained in India last year to learn how to operate the missile system.