Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (File photo)

MANILA – The delivery of the Indian-made medium-range ramjet supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles for the Philippine Navy (PN)'s Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project is expected to start within a year's time.

"First delivery is estimated in one year," Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a message to the Philippines News Agency over the weekend, when asked for updates on the weapons' acquisition.

Lorenzana said the DND is expected to release and sign the contract with BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd. in January.

"The contract is being finalized. We hope to sign it this month," he added.

The BrahMos project is worth USD374,962,800 (around PHP19 billion).

Meanwhile, PN spokesperson, Commander Benjo Negranza, in an interview Monday, said the BrahMos missile project would enhance their capability to defend the country.

"The (Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project) is a big capability enhancement for the end-user," he added.

On December 31, Lorenzana signed the Notice of Award for the Navy BrahMos' acquisition project and is a government-to-government deal signed with India.

"It includes the delivery of three batteries, training for operators and maintainers as well as the necessary Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) package. Conceptualized as early as 2017, the Office of the President approved its inclusion in the Horizon 2 Priority Projects in 2020," he added.

The acquisition program for the BrahMos, he said, would push through after the DND and India's Defense Ministry signed on March 2, 2021, the implementing agreement concerning the procurement of defense material and equipment.

"As of now, it is a go. The implementing agreement recently signed will facilitate the G2G (government-to-government) mode of procurement," Lorenzana said.

A missile battery typically consists of three mobile autonomous launchers with two or three missile tubes each, along with the tracking systems. Lorenzana said the Philippine Marine Corps' Coastal Defense Regiment will be the primary user of the BrahMos missile system.

The BrahMos cruise missile can be launched from a ship, aircraft, submarine, or land and has a top speed of around Mach 2.8 (around 3,400 km. per hour), and is capable of carrying warheads weighing 200 to 300 kilograms.

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

It has a budget of PHP300 billion.

Earlier, then PN chief Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said the BrahMos is the ideal weapon for the Navy's Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project. (PNA)