(Photo courtesy of Philippine Marine Corps)

MANILA – The country's archipelagic coastal defense capabilities got a jump start with the recent activation of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC)'s Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile (SBASM) battalion.

“The activation of SBASM (Provisional) will certainly add to drumbeat the heartbeat, and deliver the knockout punch for our archipelagic coastal defense capability,” PMC commandant Maj. Gen. Nestor Herico said in a statement Thursday.

The SBASM battalion which was activated on April 3, the first in the PMC, will be operating one of the best anti-ship missile systems on the planet which can quickly detect, track, chase, and destroy targets.

The PMC is expected to receive a coastal battery next year from Indian defense firm BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi (BAPL).

A missile battery typically consists of three mobile autonomous launchers with two or three missile tubes each, along with the tracking systems.

A SBMS (shore-based missile system) is a significant part of any reliable coastal defense system in pursuit of maritime security while in a defensive posture.

It addresses the country’s military’s weaknesses and vulnerability in sea control, anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD), and coastal and island defense operations as guided by the PN Active Archipelagic Defense Strategy and PMC Archipelagic Coastal Defense Concept.

Herico also called on SBASM Battalion commander Lt. Col. Miguel P. Perez, to train Marines under his command and forge the newest cutting-edge technology of the AFP.

“You will be striking the first hammer blow in forging the 'newest cutting edge' of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in terms of territorial defense,” Herico added.

Last January, the Department of National Defense (DND) 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.

Three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missiles will be acquired by the country under this contract. 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 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. (PNA)