MANILA – The Philippine Army (PA) is set to get Indian-made BrahMos medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missiles within the third horizon of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP).

"PA’s acquisition of BrahMos is programmed under the 3rd Horizon (Year 2023-2027) of the RAFPMP. Hence, the PA is yet to acquire said units since we are still on the 2nd Horizon (2018-2022) wherein some of the programmed acquisitions are still (in) process," PA spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.

He added that the Army is programmed to get two BrahMos batteries which will be used for coastal defense missions.

"The acquisition of two batteries will serve as the general support artillery unit in coastal defense that will (complement) the joint force in territorial defense," Trinidad said.

He also said the BrahMos answers the PA requirement of Ground-Based Anti-Ship Missile (GBASM) and the mission of the field artillery to destroy, neutralize and suppress the enemy through cannon, rocket fires.

"The concept of coastal defense implies the application of an in-depth defense. As such, defenses have to provide much further into the sea to weaken advancing enemy forces and much further inland to protect against envelopment and isolation," Trinidad said.

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 GBASM system is a mobile system with long-range precision capability to destroy hostile warships in territorial defense.

"Said GBASM system will form part of the layered defense strategy and will be under the Army Artillery Regiment. The weapon will also provide area denial as the operational situation requires," Trinidad said.

The GBASM is designed to be launched from land to hit targets at sea with high speed and precision.

It has an all-weather, long-range capability of 250-300 km. Its launch platform consists of two missiles in a ready-to-launch configuration on containers. The system also uses a radar and fire control system for coordinating the launch.

Earlier, Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the deliveries of the BrahMos for the Philippine Navy (PN)'s Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project is expected to start within a year.

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

On December 31, Lorenzana signed the Notice of Award for the Navy BrahMos' acquisition project which 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.

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. (PNA)