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India to export BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines

The Times of India logo The Times of India 28-01-2022 Rajat Pandit
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NEW DELHI: India on Friday inked the $375 million (Rs 2,770 crore) contract to export BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines, which will pave the way for more such deals with the country as well as other ASEAN countries like Indonesia and Vietnam.

This first-ever contract to export the 290-km range BrahMos missiles, which has been developed jointly with Russia, is strategically significant in the backdrop of China’s strong-arm tactics with its neighbours like Philippines in the South China Sea as well as an important milestone in India’s quest to become a major arms exporter.

The contract, under which three missile batteries of the shore based anti-ship version will be delivered within two years, was inked by Philippines secretary of national defence Delfin Lorenzana and BrahMos Aerospace chief Atul D Rane.

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Indian team of BrahMos Aerospace signs 375 million deal with the Philippines

“Today marks a decisive step forward for PM Modi’s SAGAR (policy) and India’s Indo-Pacific engagement…We are one step closer to elevating ties between our democracies to a strategic partnership and our shared objective of a free and peaceful Indo-Pacific,” said Indian ambassador to Philippines, Shambhu Kumaran.

Lorenzana, in turn, said BrahMos as the world’s fastest cruise missile will provide deterrence against any attempt to undermine his country’s sovereignty and rights, especially in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

While this contract is for the Philippines Navy, with the requisite integrated logistics support package and training, India is negotiating another bigger contract with the country’s Army as well.

Similarly, talks for exporting the air-breathing BrahMos missiles, which fly almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8, to Indonesia are also in an advanced stage, as was reported earlier by TOI.

The range of the BrahMos missiles, which have also been deployed in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh during the ongoing 20-month-long military confrontation with China, is being extended from the original 290-km to 350-400-km.

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With the Indian armed forces having placed orders worth over Rs 36,000 crore for the BrahMos missiles over the years, tests are also now in progress for an 800-km range version of the “precision-strike conventional (non-nuclear) weapon”.

With an eye on China, India has been steadily cranking up military ties with ASEAN countries through combat exercises, exchanges, training programmes and now increasingly weapon supplies over the years.

India is also trying to build a strong domestic defence-industrial base and become a major arms exporter, with the government setting an ambitious annual export target of $5 billion (Rs 36,500 crore) by 2025.

UAE, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are among the other countries that have shown an interest in acquiring the BrahMos missiles. India also plans to sell the indigenous Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km, to countries like Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kenya and Algeria.

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As for India, the Army already has four BrahMos regiments, with the possibility of ordering more when the 800-km version becomes operational. The Navy, in turn, has equipped 11 of its frontline warships, including the latest destroyer INS Visakhapatnam, with the BrahMos vertical launch systems.

IAF has also inducted two land-based BrahMos squadrons, with the sleeker air-launched version also being progressively fitted on Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets. With a combat radius of almost 1,500-km without mid-air refueling, a Sukhoi armed with BrahMos constitutes a formidable long-range weapons package.

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