MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday officially signed the contract for the acquisition of Indian-made BrahMos medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missiles.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and BrahMos Aerospace director general Atul Dinkar Rane signed the contract worth PHP18.9 billion in a virtual ceremony at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu physically represented New Delhi in the event.
Lorenzana said the signing of the BrahMos contract is a milestone for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
"As Secretary of National Defense, I am elated to be part of this huge milestone for the AFP. The acquisition of Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missiles for the PN was first conceptualized in 2017. We are glad that in 2020, President Rodrigo R. Duterte finally approved its inclusion in Horizon 2 priority projects under the Revised AFP Modernization Program," he added.
Three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missiles will be acquired by the country under this contract.
Earlier, Lorenzana said the deliveries of the BrahMos for the PN's Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project are expected to start within a year.
On December 31, the DND chief 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.
"Equipping our Navy with this vital asset is imperative as the Philippines continues to protect the integrity of its territory and defend its national interest," the DND chief added.
Lorenzana also said that the BrahMos cruise missiles will greatly beef up the PN's firepower, particularly the Philippine Marine Corps' Coast Defense Regiment.
He added that the BrahMos cruise missile system will provide counter-attack capabilities within the Philippine exclusive economic zone.
"As the world's fastest supersonic cruise missiles, the BrahMos missiles will provide deterrence against any attempt to undermine our sovereignty and sovereign rights, especially in the West Philippine Sea," Lorenzana said.
The DND chief also took this opportunity to express his thanks to the government of India and its people for making the BrahMos deal possible.
"With that, allow me now to express my gratitude to the government and the people of India, represented by Ambassador Shambu Kumaran, for making this endeavor. This was facilitated by the implementing agreement on the procurement of defense material and equipment signed by the DND and Ministry of Defense of the Republic of India in March 2021," Lorenzana said.
He also expressed hope that the Philippines and India's defense relations will continue to thrive and get stronger, especially in the field of logistics and defense industry cooperation.
"Let me also thank BrahMos Aerospace for what has been a smooth procurement process, which I hope that we can maintain as we move forward with our respective contractual obligations. It is our absolute honor to be the first foreign nation to acquire your supersonic cruise missile systems," Lorenzana said.
He also commended all officials and personnel in the DND Bids and Awards Committee and the Technical Working Group who have worked diligently to expedite this procurement process.
"As we race against time in implementing Horizon 2 of the Revised AFP Modernization Program, may this milestone drive you to work harder in completing our remaining acquisition projects," Lorenzana said.
He also expressed that these developments will inspire sailors and marines in fulfilling their mission.
"Rest assured that the government under the Duterte Administration, up until the end of the President's term, will support your vision of becoming a modern and multi-capable Navy that is able to defend our territory, protect our seas, and secure our maritime nation's future," Lorenzana said. (PNA)