Heavy Monsoons ‘Delay’ BrahMos Deployment; Philippines To Get Indo-Russian Missile Parts In Few Months

The Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile delivery to the Philippines will occur after the monsoon since the rains held back the construction of the launching sites in the southeast Asian country. BrahMos Corporation officials stated this at the World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia. 

Manila became the first international customer of the one-of-a-kind missile, the mainstay of Indian long-range standoff precision strikes. Mainly based on the Russian P-800 Onyx cruise missile, the system was developed jointly by India and Russia.

Moscow supplies the engine, and India develops other components like the seeker and guidance system. The two countries had set up a joint venture (JV), BrahMos Aerospace, in 1998. 

The Philippines has been locked in a naval standoff with China over the former trying to resupply an abandoned ship near the Second Thomas Shoal since last year. China claims the feature as its territory, where Philippine marines man an outpost on a grounded ship called the Sierra Madre.

The US and Australian navies have also conducted exercises with the Philippines to shore up an alliance before Beijing’s aggressive assertion of its territorial claims. 

Brahmos missile
File Image: Brahmos Missile

Missile Delivery After Monsoons

Praveen Pathak, General Manager for Market Promotion and Export of BrahMos Aerospace, was quoted saying the Philippines will receive the BrahMos’s “first components” within the next two months.

“There were difficulties with preparing missile deployment sites because of strong monsoons. Their construction was postponed a bit. We expect to complete it within two months. Shipments will happen as soon as we are finished,” Pathak noted.

The executive said that a delegation from the Philippines also visited India to ensure that the equipment was technically sound. “They signed an acceptance letter for the equipment’s delivery. It is ready for shipment,” the general manager added.

Heavy Showers Wreck Havoc in Archipelago

Monsoons are particularly heavy in the tropical region, where reports from earlier this month showed severe flooding and heavy rainfall in the southern part of the country. Videos showed raging waters taking down a concrete and steel bridge in Davao De Oro. 

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that besides Davao, Caraga and Southern Leyte are still forecasted to experience scattered rain showers and thunderstorms caused by the easterlies.

Moderate to heavy rains could result in flash floods or landslides. Batanes and Babuyan Islands will have isolated light rains due to the northeast monsoon. The rest of the country will experience isolated rain showers caused by the easterlies and thunderstorms.

PAGASA said severe thunderstorms could also result in flash floods or landslides. Meanwhile, moderate to rough coastal waters and moderate to strong winds prevail over Northern Luzon. For the rest of the archipelago, winds will be light to moderate with slight to moderate seas. 

Philippines Became First Foreign BrahMos Customer

The Philippines had become the first foreign customer of the Russian-Indian missile following a contract in 2022. Delivery on the first components of the order was slated for the end of December 2023. In February 2023, 21 Philippines Marines completed hands-on training focused on operating and maintaining the missile earlier that year. 

Screenshot of Chinese vessel ‘attacking’ Philippines boat

On December 31, 2021, the Philippines Ministry of Defense announced that it had issued a notice of award to BrahMos Aerospace, accepting its proposal to supply the shore-based anti-ship missile system for US$374 million. It was the culmination of a long-drawn hunt on the part of the Philippines to equip itself with the BrahMos weapons system. 

China Not Happy

The BrahMos is expected to strike the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships in the event of a war. Unsurprisingly, the missile sale had drawn an unhappy reaction from China, which perceived the defense deal as India attempting to interfere in regional territorial disputes on cue from the United States (US).  

Chinese state media Global Times quoted military analysts who said New Delhi, as an external force outside the South China Sea, “would only complicate the situation and jeopardize the hard-won stability and peace by increasing their footprint in the region.”

Strategic affairs expert Song Zhongping said India is achieving this by gifting a warship to Vietnam and the BrahMos to the Philippines. “India’s recent moves to sell weapons systems to nations located near the South China Sea is a disturbing trend and bringing about new risks to the region,” Song said. 

“We oppose all countries outside the region intervening to stir up the situation in the South China Sea because this will inevitably increase the complexity and uncertainty of the situation and affect the stability and prosperity of the region,” the report quoted Qian Feng, a director at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University.