In what may be viewed as a major boost to India's defence capability building prowess, the Philippines has accepted Indian BrahMos Aerospace proposal worth USD 374.9 million to supply a Shore-based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project for its navy. Notice of Award has been communicated to BrahMos officials by the Philippines' Department of National Defence said on Friday.

On March 2, 2021, the Philippines and India signed a government-to-government agreement on defence equipment procurement, paving the way for the sale of the BrahMos missile to the Philippines.

The notice award for the contract to procure a Shore-based Anti-ship Missile system for the Philippines Navy sought a response from BrahMos Aerospace within 10 days. BrahMos is the potent offensive missile weapon system already inducted into the Armed Forces and is used by the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force as well as Indian Army.

For the record, the Philippines have shown interest in the purchase of the BrahMos since 2016. It was reported that negotiations were underway since 2019 regarding the procurement of two mobile batteries for the Philippine army under the Land-Based Missile System (LBMS) program. A mock-up of the Philippine army version of the launcher was shown. The missiles were fitted on a semi-trailer towed by a South Korean KIA KM500 truck. In addition, in the spring of 2020, there were reports of the Philippine Navy’s intention to purchase three batteries of the BrahMos system.
The Philippines are worried about the rise of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy). The PLAN already controls many islets such as the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal. The recent discovery of a Chinese submarine drone on the nearby Selayar Island and a new law allowing Chinese coast guard to open fire on foreign ships in waters claimed by China continue to fuel tensions in the region.

The Brahmos procurement would offer the Philippines a way to deter China’s expansionism and somewhat restore the military balance between the two countries. Should the Philippines go ahead with the Brahmos procurement plan, it would become the first export customer of the system.