The Philippine News Agency reported that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on December 27 released two Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) to cover the initial funding requirements of the “Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program. The first SARO is worth PHP1.3 billion while the second is worth PHP1.535 billion. Earlier reports said the medium-range ramjet supersonic BrahMos cruise missile system is being eyed for this project. The acquisition of a land-based missile system is under Horizon Two of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program, which is slated for 2018 to 2022 and geared for the acquisition of equipment for external defense. It has a budget of PHP300 billion.
In October 2019, Philippines was reported to be in discussion with India for a possible BrahMos missile acquisition project. In November 2020, Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana said that the program to acquire medium-range ramjet supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles is moving forward but getting enough funds remains a challenge. The plan is to acquire at least two batteries of the BrahMos cruise missiles with each battery having three mobile autonomous launchers. Each mobile autonomous launchers will consist of two to three missile tubes. The acquisition will be done through a “government-to-government deal”. The procurement process of BrahMos was already in the advanced stage by March 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic halted the process and caused the Philippines reprioritizing its budget. India has offered the Philippines an arrangement to acquire the missiles through soft loan but President Rodrigo Duterte is reportedly not keen on taking the offer.
The BrahMos (designated PJ-10) is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft or land. It is notably one of the fastest supersonic cruise missiles in the world. It is a joint venture between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who together have formed BrahMos Aerospace. It is based on the Russian P-800 Oniks cruise missile and other similar sea-skimming Russian cruise missile technology. The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia. It is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile currently in operation. The land-launched and ship-launched versions are already in service.
BrahMos claims it has the capability of attacking surface targets by flying as low as five metres in altitude and the maximum altitude it can fly is 15,000 metres. It has a diameter of 70 cm and a wingspan of 1.7 m. It can gain a speed of Mach 3.5, and has a maximum range of 650 km. The ship-launched and land-based missiles can carry a 200 kg warhead, whereas the aircraft-launched variant (BrahMos A) can carry a 300 kg warhead. It has a two-stage propulsion system, with a solid-propellant rocket for initial acceleration and a liquid-fuelled ramjet responsible for sustained supersonic cruise. Air-breathing ramjet propulsion is much more fuel-efficient than rocket propulsion, giving the BrahMos a longer range than a pure rocket-powered missile would achieve. Although BrahMos was primarily an anti-ship missile, the BrahMos can also engage land-based targets.