Why The Philippines Is Buying Brahmos Cruise Missiles?

Hello defence lovers! Recently India and the Philippines have signed a defence pact under which India would export Brahmos missiles to the Philippines. In this article, we will try to understand why the Philippines is interested to buy Brahmos despite having a security pact with the United States.

Overview of Brahmos

Brahmos is perhaps the deadliest operational cruise missile in the world. Till now it is the fastest operational Cruise missile in the world. It is developed jointly by India and Russia. It is based on Russia’s p-800 Onik. It is manufactured in India by Brahmos Aerospace which is an Indo-Russian Joint venture

Unlike other supersonic cruise missiles, Brahmos covers its entire trajectory at supersonic speed and reaches speeds up to 3.5 Mach in the terminal phase. It carries a 200 Kg warhead which can be delivered up to ranges of 600km. Brahmos can be launched from land, air and soil. Brahmos is the deadliest anti-ship missile in the world. It possesses enormous Kinetic Energy which is enough to cripple small ships like tin cans. Brahmos is known for breaking ships into two pieces during its trials. Not only its speed is lethal, but it also has the ability to sea-skim at altitudes 10 meters above sea level, which gives its target very less time to react. Brahmos can also perform S maneuvers in the terminal phase to evade the CIWS. Brahmos is deadly accurate. It has a CEP of 1 meter and has multiple guidance systems which make it impossible to jam.

All these characteristics make Brahmos the deadliest anti-ship cruise missile in active service. However once Russian Zircon becomes operational, it will take away Brahmos’ tittle for being the deadliest anti-ship missile

US-Philippines Defence Pact

The US and the Philippines have a defence pact called the Mutual Defense Treaty. The Mutual Defense Treaty between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America (MDT) was signed on August 30, 1951, in Washington, D.C. between representatives of the Philippines and the United States. Under this treaty, the US gives military assistance to the Philippines. The most important aspect of the treaty is that an attack on the Philippines will be considered as an attack on the United States and vice versa. There are American bases in the Philippines which houses thousands of American Soldiers.

Why The Philippines Want Brahmos?

This treaty alone is enough for Philippine’s defence. So why is the country bothered about purchasing the world’s best cruise missile when it has the US to save it from attacks from external powers? Let us understand why it is so.

The Pilipino people fear that the US is using them against China. In case of any future US-China conflict, Philippines would be dragged into it without its will. Moreover, the Philippines government has warned US not to deploy nukes on its land. If we look at the past, we would understand that the people are not very happy with the American troops on their soil. The American soldiers’ misconduct in the places near their bases created a lots of problem for the local people. This is not only a problem in Philippines but also in other nations like Japan and South Korea. The public and the government was so annoyed with these problem that the US had to withdraw its forces from Philippines. But after the 9/11 attacks America got the excuse of “War on terror” to deploy its troops again.

Thus the Philippines want to be self-reliant in terms of defence. The Brahmos missiles would act as a deterrent to any Chinese vessel. The Philippines has legitimate claims on the South China Sea. Thus Brahmos would also help the Philippines to defend its territory from Chinese vessels in case of any future conflict.

Indian Perspective

From the Indian perspective, it is a win-win situation. India has killed two birds with a single stone. Firstly is a pressure tactic to contain China. Giving Brahmos to the Philippines is a clear message for China. Now the Philippines can challenge the Chinese dominance in the south china sea. Secondly, India’s arms export is increasing, which would definitely increase India’s influence over the region. The only thing India has to keep in mind that it has to protect the sensitive data of Brahmos from ending up in the wrong hands. The current Brahmos pact hopefully takes care of that.


Sheershoo Deb

I am a defense aspirant preparing to be an officer in the prestigious Indian armed forces. Earning the prestigious blue uniform is my dream.

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