The Philippines have formally inked an 18.9 billion pesos ($370 million) contract with India for the acquisition of Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles, its defense ministry said in a statement
The 290-kilometer (180 miles) range Brahmos shore-based anti-ship missile system is produced by an Indo-Russian defense corporation BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture between India and Russia established in 1998.
The contract, under which three batteries of the shore-based anti-ship missiles will be delivered to the Philippines, was signed by the Philippines' Defense Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, and Brahmos Aerospace's Director-General Atul Dinkar Rane.
Indian Ambassador to the Philippines, Shambu Kumaran, was also present during the signing ceremony in Manila.
India’s defense ministry said in a statement
that the deal represents "an important step forward " in the government's strategy of promoting "responsible defense exports."
Lorenzana had said
earlier that the Philippine Marines will be the primary user of the new weapons system. The contract is inclusive of training for operators and maintainers, as well as the necessary integrated logistics support package.
Manila’s acquisition of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles was perceived as a means of bolstering the country’s ability to defend sovereign claims in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims 90 percent of the seas based on its so-called “nine-dash line.”
The Philippine government had previously lodged
a diplomatic protest against China’s repeated disruptive acts toward its authorities patrolling the disputed sea, warning Beijing that a public vessel is covered under the Philippines-U.S. mutual defense treaty.
Lorenzana stated that the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles will assist the Philippines in providing “deterrence against any attempt to undermine our sovereignty and sovereign rights, especially in the West Philippine Sea.”
“Equipping our navy with this vital asset is imperative as the Philippines continues to protect the integrity of its territory and defend its national interests,” Lorenzana said in a statement
The BrahMos cruise missile is 8 meters (26 feet) in length and carries a conventional warhead weighing about 200 kilograms (440 lbs). It has a flight speed of up to Mach 2.8 (970 meters per second), almost three times the speed of sound.
India’s defense ministry had previously
test-launched the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile from its new stealth-guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam, saying that the missile “hits the designated target ship precisely.”
Indian Navy’s spokesperson said on Twitter
that the successful test launch “validates a new capability” for the Navy with the induction of the BrahMos missile and that it “certifies the accuracy of the ship’s combat system and armament complex.”