BrahMos supersonic cruise Missiles being delivered to the Philippines by India

Three ‘batteries’ of BrahMos missiles have already been handed over to the Philippines with a fourth on its way to Manila

New Delhi: Giving a huge fillip to defence exports, India is on way to send the fourth ‘battery’ of land version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines today amidst growing tensions due to Chinese assertions in the South China Sea.

It is understood that three ‘batteries’ of BrahMos missiles have already been handed over to the island nation with a fourth on its way to Manila as part of the USD 375 million deal signed by the two allies in 2022. Each battery comprises four launchers with three 290 km range missiles with each launcher on a mobile platform for survivability of the conventional deterrent. Given the supersonic speed of the weapon, the missile is very difficult to intercept by land or ship-based Ballistic Missile Defence (BMDs) systems.

The BrahMos Philippines deal has ensured that India’s defence exports have already touched ₹21083 crores in 2023-2024 with a massive 32.5 per cent year-on-year growth as compared to the past fiscal. As BrahMos has a proven track record, India is expected to bag more orders for the supersonic missiles in the near future.

While India has crossed the Rubicon in missile exports, the Narendra Modi government is also looking towards setting up a joint venture between Mazagon Dockyards Limited and French Naval Group to manufacture Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarines in Mumbai and supply to third countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Currently, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan is on a visit to France to interact with the Naval Group and the Emmanuel Macron government to understand how Indian and French supply chains can join hands to manufacture high-tech conventional and non-conventional sub-surface platforms in India under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat rubric. It is understood that the Indian CDS will visit the French submarine base at Brest and possibly Toulouse in a bid to deepen the bilateral defence cooperation. The French Naval Group is already in talks with MDL for the construction of three additional Kalvari (modified Scorpene) class submarines for India.

While P-5 powers use nuclear-powered conventionally armed attack submarines (SSN) for deterrence and access denial, India is still evaluating its options. The options include manufacturing SSNs to long-term maritime security or looking towards the lithium battery, air-independent propulsion or conventional diesel-electric submarines apart from underwater armed drones. These proposals are expected to get solidified during Modi 3.0.

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