PH eyes deal with India for world’s fastest supersonic missiles
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines and India signed an agreement for a potential supply of BrahMos cruise missiles, a product of collaboration by India and Russia, which the Philippine government hoped would boost coastal defense.
Philippine Defense Undersecretary Raymund Elefante and Indian Ambassador Shambu Kumaran signed an implementing agreement on Tuesday (March 2) at Camp Aguinaldo, headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), according to the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) on Facebook.
The agreement involved the procurement of defense materiel and equipment by the Philippines from India, an emerging superpower rival of China in Asia.
“We are buying the BrahMos missiles,” said Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who witnessed the signing ceremony. He did not provide details of the procurement plan yet.
BrahMos are medium-range supersonic (faster than the speed of sound) missiles that can be launched from submarines, ships, planes or land. It is considered to be the fastest supersonic missile in the world.
Lorenzana said the agreement served as guide for the Philippines and India on “policies and procedures in the defense procurement.” It also served as a “legal framework for the procurement under the government-to-government modality,” Lorenzana added.
The missile system, which can be used for coastal defense and ground attack, would boost Philippine military firepower in the face of threats to its maritime territory, coming mainly from Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.
Plans to procure the system stalled last year due to budgetary constraints caused by the pandemic.
Hindustan Times reported in 2020 that India has offered a $100 million line of credit to the Philippines for the weapons system purchase, but a government source privy to the deal said it could be more.
In separate occasions last January, Kumaran and BrahMos Aerospace CEO and Managing Director Dr. Sudhir Mishra visited the Philippine Army and Philippine Marines, the potential users of the BrahMos missiles.
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