The Department of National Defense (DND) finally signed on Friday, Jan. 28, the contract for the acquisition of India's BrahMos supersonic missile system for the Philippine Navy (PN) which is worth USD 374,962,800 or around P19 billion.
DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran signed the deal at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City while Mr. Atul Dinkar Rane, director general of BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd., participated via video teleconference.
In his speech, Lorenzana said that the realization of the PN's Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile Acquisition Project was "imperative as the Philippines continues to protect the integrity of its territory and defend its national interests."
"The BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles will certainly beef up the firepower of the Philippine Navy, particularly the Philippine Marines Corps Coastal Defense Regiment," Lorenzana said.
"Its system will provide counter-attack capabilities within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). 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," he added.
The acquisition of the shore-based anti-ship missiles for the Philippine Navy was first conceptualized in 2017.
In 2020, President Duterte finally approved its inclusion in the "Horizon" 2 priority projects under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP).
The project was facilitated by the implementing agreement on the procurement of defense material and equipment signed by the DND and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of India in March 2021.
The Philippines is the first foreign nation to acquire India's supersonic cruise missile system.
"I earnestly hope that our defense relations will continue to thrive and get stronger, especially in the field of logistics and defense industry," Lorenza said as he addressed the delegation from India and BrahMos.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana said he was certain that the sailors and marines were equally happy with the acquisition since they have upgraded their capabilities while being at the forefront in the defense of the country's archipelago.
"To our sailors and marines: we are about to tick another item in your modernization wish list. We are slowly yet surely moving closer towards a credible defense posture, and I hope that these developments will inspire you more in fulfilling your noble mission," the Defense Chief noted.
He assured the Navy leadership that the government will support their vision of becoming a modern and multi-capable organization that is "able to defend our territory, protect our seas, and secure our maritime nation's future."
Also in attendance during the ceremonial contract signing were Philippine Ambassador to India Ramon Bagatsing Jr.; top officials from the AFP led by Gen. Andres Centino, AFP Chief of Staff; and other DND and BrahMos executives.