BrahMos missiles deal seen in 2020: Lorenzana

By Priam Nepomuceno

December 17, 2019, 10:21 am

<p>Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (File photo)

MANILA -- The contract signing for the medium-range ramjet supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles, which are being eyed for coastal defense missions of the Philippine Army (PA), will be signed by the early part of 2020, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday night.

He made this announcement when asked about the possibility of the Philippines having the missile on its inventory.

"Signing of the contract will be in 2020. Possibly on the first or second quarter," Lorenzana said in Filipino.

When asked on how many BrahMos units the Philippines will be acquiring, the DND chief said "two batteries".

A missile battery is equivalent to three mobile autonomous launchers with two or three missile tubes each.

Aside from the PA, the DND chief said the weapons can also be used by the Philippine Air Force. Lorenzana said the procurement will be via "government-to-government mode".

Once delivered, he said the BrahMos will be the first Philippine weaponry with deterrent capability.

"There is money for it as per our modernization program," Lorenzana earlier said when asked on whether the Philippines can support or provide funds for the acquisition of the missiles which was jointly developed by Russia and India.

The acquisition of a land-based missile system is under Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program slated from 2018 to 2022 for the acquisition of equipment geared for external defense and has a budget of PHP300 billion.

The PA in October activated its first land-based missile battery system which is under the supervision of its Army Artillery Regiment. The unit is currently working on its training programs before acquiring the equipment.

In the same month, ranking Army officials paid a visit to the "Shivalik"-class guided missile frigate, INS Sahyadri (F-49), to learn more about its missile capabilities which include the "BrahMos" cruise missile which can be launched from ship, aircraft, submarine or land and has a top of Mach 3 and capable of carrying warheads weighing 200 to 300 kilograms.

“The Philippine Army is interested in acquiring this type of missile as it will strengthen our coastal defense operations,” PA spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala earlier said. (PNA)