Brahmos Missiles for the Philippines?

The Brahmos missile and its launch container. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
The Brahmos missile and its launch container. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Ever since China raised tensions in the West Philippine Sea by cordoning off Panatag Shoal in 2012,1 there has been a LOT of talk about the Philippines acquiring the Brahmos Missile for use against China’s naval fleet, with some of these talk even coming from some prominent politicians. Although the Department of National Defense (DND) never seem to seriously consider the Brahmos (at least not publicly), I thought it would be a “fun” blog to explore the merits and demerits of the missile as far as the Philippines using it.

‘The Brahmos’
The Brahmos is a supersonic Anti-Ship Cruise Missile (AShCM) that could be launched from ships and land vehicles, with new versions under development that could be launched from aircraft and submarines. It is made by a company called “Brahmos Aerospace” which is a joint venture between the state institutions of India (Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO) and Russia (NPO Mashinostroeyenia). It first entered service with the Indian armed forces in 2005, and since then approximately 364 missiles have been produced, all used by India as the Brahmos has not yet been officially exported to any other country. The name “Brahmos” was derived from the main rivers of the two countries involved in the joint venture of its production, the “Brahmaputra” of India and the “Moskva” of Russia.

The Brahmos follows a “Hi-Lo” flight profile in order to reach its maximum range, meaning it initially cruises at medium to high altitude before dropping down to a very low altitude when it is estimated to be just below the radar horizon of the target. Guidance is via Inertial Navigation System (INS) supplemented by Global Positioning System (GPS) or Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) during launch and flight. The missile then activates its own internal radar when it is estimated to be 50 km from its target. Other important physical and performance characteristics of the Brahmos are as follows:2 3
Length: 8.4 m
Diameter: 0.6 m
Total Weight: 3,000 kg
Warhead Weight: 200 kg
Maximum Speed: Mach 2.8
Maximum Range: 290 km
Minimum Altitude: 15 m (during Terminal Phase)

‘Brahmos: Speed Kills’
So how good really of an AShCM is the Brahmos? The main advantage of the Brahmos is its SPEED. The missile can travel at Mach 2.8, or that’s around 3,430 kilometers per hour (kph) at sea level. In comparison, most AShCMs (especially the ones available in the west) like Saab’s RBS-15 Mk3 for example are subsonic, traveling at only around Mach 0.8 or 980 kph.4 Put it another way, the Brahmos can travel at 0.95 kilometers per second (kmps), while the RBS-15 can only travel at 0.27 kmps.

What is more impressive is the fact that the Brahmos is actually faster than some cannon rounds, like the Oto Melara 76 mm gun found on a majority of ships around the world right now has a muzzle velocity of “only” 914-925 meters per second (mps),5 slower than the 950 mps that the Brahmos can travel. Hence, the Brahmos is not just a missile, it is actually like a gigantic cannon round.

One way to show how important this is in combat is like for example, assuming that a ship has a radar antenna height of 20 m means it will only be able to detect a Brahmos flying at 15 m above sea level starting at a distance of 35 km due to the Radar Horizon problem.6 Now, a Brahmos will be able to cross that 35 km distance in only 37 seconds, not a lot of time for the ship’s sensors and weapons to detect and react to it. In contrast, it will take an RBS-15 a full two minutes and ten seconds to cover that same distance, allowing for a more comfortable reaction time for the ship.

Worst is the fact that gun-based Close In Weapons System (CIWS) defenses have much shorter ranges than that 35 km when shooting at aerial targets, less than 6 km for a 76 mm gun and 3-5 km for the smaller caliber cannons. This means the main gun will only have around six seconds at most to shoot down the Brahmos, and even less at only 3-5 seconds for the smaller guns.

Its incredible speed will also pose problems for older radar sensors as some will have problems tracking such a fast object flying at such a low altitude with the “clutter” of the sea in its background, and if the radar isn’t able to track it, then the ship’s weapons and decoy systems won’t be able to react to it automatically.

‘The Maneuvering Bullet’
And even with the newer radar systems that can track it, the Brahmos has another ace up its sleeve in that it can also MANEUVER even though it is traveling at supersonic speeds during its “Terminal Homing” phase (i.e., when it is near its target). This ability to maneuver is not unique to the Brahmos, in fact most Anti-Ship Missiles (AShMs) can also do this, but what differentiates the Brahmos is that it can do it at a much higher speed. Remember that this is a missile that can cover a kilometer per second and is actually faster than some cannon rounds, hence as it goes thru its maneuvers, it will be covering a LOT of distance.

The combination of speed, distance covered and maneuverability makes it a lot more difficult to track at short ranges. In effect it would be like trying to shoot down a very large cannon round that can perform complex aerial maneuvers. And even if the automated systems can track it, there is also the issue of accuracy which will surely be degraded because of that combination of factors.

Missiles with capabilities like the Brahmos is one reason why most of the more advanced western navies are moving away from gun-based CIWS and moving to missile-based CIWS together with a good Airborne Early Warning (AEW) as their primary defense. The US Navy, for example, is now slowly moving to the combination of missile-based CIWS like the SeaRAM7 and RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM, 50 km range)8 along with AEW as its “minimum” defense against supersonic AShCMs because one way to effectively defend against them is to spot and then destroy them from as far a range from the ship as possible.

‘Brahmos Weaknesses’
Despite its intimidating capabilities, the Brahmos does have its share of weaknesses also, and the first of these is that, just like most AShMs in the world right now, it uses an Active Radar Homing (ARH) system, meaning it uses an internal radar to be able to home in on its target, and as we have seen in my previous blogs,9 10 such homing systems in actual combat conditions are susceptible to being decoyed off using Electronic Counter Measures (ECM). The manufacturer claims that the Brahmos has strong resistance to active spoofing and jamming, but whether that is true remains to be seen. For now, unless proven otherwise, I am more inclined to believe that just like any other ARH missile, it can be decoyed off, PROVIDED that the ECMs are activated on time. If the ship for some reason is unable to activate its ECMs in time, or runs out of one component of ECM which are decoys, or is in the process of reloading its decoys when the Brahmos spots it, then it is likely to be toast.

The INS Rajput firing the Brahmos Missile. Photo courtesy of the Indian Navy thru Wikipedia Commons.
The INS Rajput firing the Brahmos Missile. Photo courtesy of the Indian Navy thru Wikipedia Commons.

The second weakness of the Brahmos is its Large Heat Signature. It needs a large, hot engine with a lot of thrust for it to travel that fast. Another heat source is what’s called “Aerodynamic Heating” caused by the friction of the air on the aircraft’s body, and the faster the speed, the higher the friction, causing the missile’s outer casing to be heated to a higher degree. And since it is a large missile, there is a lot of area for the air to heat up.

Some radar sensors might have trouble tracking the Brahmos, but Infra-Red (IR) sensors will actually have an easier time tracking it. Most ships now have IR sensors on gimballed mounts, but these can only cover a limited area at a time. This is the reason why new, Passive Infra-Red Staring (PIRS) systems like the Thales’ Artemis11 or Rafael’s Sea Spotter12 are being pushed into service on ships of some western navies to counter also supersonic AShCMs. These PIRS systems provide 360 degree coverage and are “always on” to detect targets, especially of supersonic missiles like the Brahmos with large heat signatures.

Its third weakness is its Large Size and Weight. In order for it to travel that far and that fast, it needs to have a lot of fuel, hence its enormous size. For example, its ground/surface launched version weighs 3,000 kg, almost four times the 800 kg weight of an RBS-15, meaning you can carry around four RBS-15 for every single Brahmos missile. In fact, for a missile of its weight it has a relatively light warhead, only the same as that of a RBS-15 at 200 kg, with most of its weight is allocated for fuel.

For vehicles, the Brahmos’ size and weight means the ground’s ability to carry the weight of the vehicle and the missiles will have to be carefully considered constantly. For ships, topweight issues for the launcher and missile will likely be a problem for smaller ships. For aircraft, forget about putting one on a single-engined aircraft like the JAS-39 Gripen. You would need at least a twin-engined aircraft to carry it, and not just any twin-engined aircraft, it will have to be a large one, like the Flanker family of aircraft. Even then, aircraft like the SU-30MKI can only carry one at a time. To carry more, you would need bomber-sized aircraft to haul it around for some distance.

These missiles could be mounted on large converted transport aircraft, but that would be akin to suicide when attacking fleets with air cover since they just won’t have the speed to get away quickly enough to safety, especially since China does have a lot of Flankers in their inventory. This is why Russia uses supersonic bombers to attack fleets with AShMs.

‘The Russian Problem’
Another critical issue about the Brahmos is that it is partly made in Russia, and as far as the world’s politics is right now, Russia and China are forming a very close alliance,13 and this could be a liability for the Philippines during times of war. For example, during the Falklands War, the Exocet missile that Argentina used was made by the French, who in turn were close allies of the British. So what did the French do? They of course first went out and revealed important details about the Exocet missile to the British so British ships could defend better against them.14 Such a scenario between the Philippines, China and Russia could also likely happen.

Of course, the Exocet still managed to sink or damage a couple of British ships despite France’ revelation of the Exocet’s secrets to the United Kingdom, but this brings us to another problem: Embargo. When the Falkland’s War started, France subsequently refused to ship any Exocet missiles anymore to Argentina,15 this is the reason why Argentina only had five operational missiles during the entire duration of the war. Russia could also do the same, withhold critical components for missiles to be shipped to the Philippines if war between us and China breaks out.

We could stock up on the Brahmos missiles, but missiles have shelf lives and will need to be refurbished after a certain period of time, and they will be used extensively and run out in wartime. We could switch to another missile system later if the embargo comes, but then that will not be easy as most of our tactics, strategies, operational and maintenance competence will be based on the Brahmos, and will have to start back from square one again if we switch to another missile.

Now, the Brahmos is also built via a joint-venture with India, and India have no love lost with China either, hence there is the possibility that India could still provide complete missiles to the Philippines on their own in case problems with Russia comes up. But there are LEGAL issues that could keep this from happening, and Russia will likely not allow this to happen without raising a fuss. And even if it is possible for India to supply complete missiles, there is still the issue that we will end up with missiles with untested critical components whose reliability, accuracy and durability will be in doubt.

‘Parting Shot’
The Brahmos is a very capable missile, and it would be a very interesting weapon to have in our arsenal. It is basically a huge cannon round that can maneuver, and with a much longer range. Its long range will give us good coverage over our territories, and its supersonic speed and maneuverability will give China something to seriously think about. However, it does have its own share of weaknesses also, and personally I don’t favor getting it mainly because of the political issues tied with Russia.

I think we would be better off with western sources for military equipment for now, regardless of the fact that they may be less capable in some areas compared to the Brahmos. Maybe it is better to adjust and work around the lesser capabilities of the available AShCM options from western sources rather than deal with possible complications brought about by buying sophisticated weapons from Russia. If Russia wasn’t involved in its production, I wouldn’t hesitate agreeing with the Brahmos, but they are, hence my reservation. But of course, this is just my opinion.

A good alternative to the Brahmos could be Stealth AShCMs as these have some of the advantages of the Brahmos (i.e., difficult to counter), but none of its disadvantages (i.e., high heat signature, large size and weight). The only operational stealth AShCM right now in the western world is the new Naval Strike Missile (NSM),16 but it does have lesser capability also in that it has a smaller warhead of only 125 kg compared to the Brahmos or RBS-15, and lesser range of only 185 km. If we can wait around for a little while, we may be able to get the also stealthy but more capable Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM)17 which is expected to be available starting around 2018.

One last thing to consider is that in getting missiles like the Brahmos, it is CRITICAL to have a good long range targeting capability to go along with it also. Because of the radar horizon issue, the ship or ground vehicle launching it will likely never get to see the target it is shooting at, and target information will have to come from surveillance aircraft. I wrote a blog about this before,18 but that blog was based mainly on the assumption that we will be getting western AShMs. It will even be more important with the Brahmos because of its longer range, at least 33% or 100 km longer than most western AShMs. Simply put: The Brahmos’ long range will not be optimized if we don’t have enough long range surveillance aircraft to provide it with long range targeting information.

Brahmos missiles of the Indian Army on triple ground launchers. Photo courtesy of Hemantphoto79 thru Wikipedia Commons.
Brahmos missiles of the Indian Army on triple ground launchers. Photo courtesy of Hemantphoto79 thru Wikipedia Commons.

SOURCES:


  1. PHL Navy in standoff with Chinese surveillance ships in West PHL Sea,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20160624170117/http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/254510/news/nation/phl-navy-in-standoff-with-chinese-surveillance-ships-in-west-phl-sea
  2. Brahmos missile,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20130608162734/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BrahMos
  3. Brahmos Aerospace,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20140702033316/http://www.brahmos.com/index.php
  4. RBS15 Mk3 Surface-to-Surface Missile (SSM), Sweden,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20140607080441/http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/rbs15-mk3-surface-to-surface-missile-ssm/
  5. Oto Melara 76 mm,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20140320032131/http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_3-62_mk75.htm
  6. RADAR DETECTION AND THE HORIZON DISTANCE,
    (https://rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.wordpress.com/2005/01/10/radar-detection-and-the-horizon-distance/
  7. Raytheon SeaRAM,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20130704045519/http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/searam/
  8. Raytheon Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), (https://web.archive.org/web/20140805093433/http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/essm/
  9. MISSILE BOAT NAVAL BATTLE LESSONS, (https://rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/missile-boat-naval-battle-lessons/
  10. MODERN LARGE SHIP NAVAL BATTLE LESSONS,
    (https://rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/modern-large-ship-naval-battle-lessons/
  11. Thales Artemis sensor, (https://web.archive.org/web/20161117065141/http://www.thales7seas.com/html5/products/195/ARTEMIS_BROCHURE.pdf
  12. Rafael Sea Spotter sensor, (https://web.archive.org/web/20131102035746/http://www.rafael.co.il/marketing/SIP_STORAGE/FILES/9/1019.pdf
  13. A Powerful Long-term Alliance Between China and Russia Is Unnerving Washington,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20140722115431/http://www.alternet.org/world/powerful-long-term-alliance-between-china-and-russia-unnerving-washington
  14. How France helped us win Falklands war, by John Nott,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20140818091741/http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1387576/How-France-helped-us-win-Falklands-war-by-John-Nott.html
  15. French Deny Breaking Argentine Embargo, (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19820726&id=PAE-AAAAIBAJ&sjid=bEkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5263,4235569
  16. Naval Strike Missile (NSM), Norway,
    (https://web.archive.org/web/20140706183000/http://www.naval-technology.com/projects/naval-strike-missile-nsm/
  17. Long Range Anti Ship Missile (LRASM), (https://web.archive.org/web/20140626040551/http://lockheedmartin.com/us/products/LRASM.html
  18. AIRBORNE TARGETTING SUPPORT FOR THE PHILIPPINE ARMY’S ANTI SHIP MISSILES,
    (https://rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/airborne-targetting-support-for-the-philippine-armys-anti-ship-missiles/
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56 thoughts on “Brahmos Missiles for the Philippines?”

  1. The afp should first have the ability to see before getting the brahmos. Hence the jas39 in tandem with an erieye or a hawkeye with powerful assistance from ground based radar. Then a stop gap measure with conventional cruise missiles like the storm shadow. This is gonna take long. Maybe that is why china is happily reclaiming our islands. Congrats china for being the ultimate @hole.

    1. The Erieye is optimized more for aerial targets, although it does have a sea surveillance mode also. The Maritime Patrol version of the Dash-8 aircraft will be good also, it is lighter and thus would be more fuel efficient …

    2. If Russia and India can offer better missile systems & MRFs at a lower cost, I think we should diversify our arms procurement to Russia and India since we have friendly relations with these 2 countries. As the saying, goes, money counts in any business transaction whether your dealing with a communist or democratic country. With a small & limited yearly defense budget, we should stretch the peso’s purchasing power to the max. China and other claimants to Spratly Islands and our dispute with Malaysia over Sabah our only adversaries. Our government should not depend solely on our alliance with the US under Obama Administration and after kicking the US out of Subic and Clark Air Base.

  2. This is a lot better option for defense and deterrence. But how much would it cost?

    This should be a game changer, shouldn’t it RHK?

    1. Its is going to cost a lot, since we will need more of them. The Soviet tactic of using AShMs dictate the use of Mass Saturation Attacks to overwhelm a fleet’s defenses, meaning launching DOZENS of missiles at a time, even hundreds …

  3. I am just intrigued with the line “By 2027, Manila hopes to have control of the air space over land and sea, maritime patrol capabilities that include patrol and surveillance coverage up to 200 nautical miles of the exclusive economic zone, and a land force that can perform a spectrum of capabilities from peacetime development, to low intensity conflict and limited conventional warfare.”

    The author may have interviewed a high profile defense/military official…

    http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140709/DEFREG03/307090022/July-s-Philippine-Defense-Expo-First-Decades

    1. 2027 is 13 years away, and covers 3 Presidents. I think this is doable, as long as the next 2 Presidents are up to the task of modernizing our armed forces. At the very least we should have enough firepower to be able to discourage any thoughts of invading Palawan, that is the most vulnerable part of our mainland. The economically weakened Americans are unreliable at this point, hence we are really on our own more or less …

      1. I’m really at a deep impression that whoever get hold of Malacañang is tied-bound to bolster our defense capabilities.

        And at this point, considering all the brewing alliances and economic paths the PH is going, to NOT improve our defense is almost a death wish for any presidentiable…..

      2. Well, the President is the Commander in Chief, hence he sets the direction where the AFP will go and the AFP is obliged to follow. Binay has not been very vocal in supporting the AFP Modernization, in fact, he has been pretty quiet about it. What you hear him talk about is how he wants “better” relations with China while his daughter talks about a HADR-focused AFP.

        I think what Binay’s opponents can do is highlight the issue of the AFP Modernization to force Binay to come up with a position publicly on what he wants to do about it.

  4. Cayetano-trillanes vs escudero-poe? Who will be thr best bet for afp? Lesser evil would go to cayet-trillan. Although some say trillanes’ backdoor nego with china came at the price of scarborough. Escudero-poe i dont know all i can think of is heart hehehe.
    Kelan adas?
    Where is saab in the floor plan?
    Without a doubt the ashm battery shield is the only thing china is scared of.

    1. I think Cayetano and Escudero lack charisma to win as President. Heart may bring in some votes for Chiz, but it won’t help him beat Binay. Poe has the nod of the masa, but she is just too new in politics, although running for VP is a good move in preparation for 2022.

      As for ADAS 2014, it starts next Wednesday, July 16. I assumed that is free to the public, but now I am not so sure anymore. I tried contacting one of the organizers to ask about it, I hope he answers back …

  5. Trillanes is a sure bet for VP and I believe he’s got an enormous edge as far as the feedback in MIndanao is concerned.

    For prexy, Dark Lord is lording it over Roxas, Duterte (except for Davao region of course) and the rest. Cayetano and Escudero will be a long shot as well as Poe.

    If election is held today, It will be Binay and Trillanes here in Mindanao…

  6. I could just imagine a kerry and jinping coversation
    Kerry: what can we do for you to stop angering your neighbors?
    Jinping: drop the hacking charges
    Kerry: nope, what else
    Jinping: get out of palawan
    Kerry: nope, what else
    Jinping: stop supporting the japanese
    Kerry: nope, what else
    Jinping: let our oil rig operate
    Kerry: nope, what else
    Jinping: this was a very productive meeting
    Kerry: yup. Let’s do this again sometime.

    Btw, the asw bidding has two main bidders. The panther and the wildcat. Maybe a comparo is in order. My guess is the lynx but if the panther is cheaper and we could get three why not? Is there any update for the frigate winner? If we choose the spanish or french designs i hope we dont offend the koreans for the pohangs.

    1. The latest Supplement Bid Bulletin indicates that aside from Airbus Helicopters, PT Dirgantra also is interested in the bidding and may enter their NAS332 Super Puma Helicopter. Agusta Westland also may field in the Super Lynx instead of the AW159, so I’m not sure really what aircraft the manufacturers will be fielding in.

      If we choose Navantia or STX, I think South Korea will still sell those Pohangs, as long as we are willing to pay for them. I think its a good thing that the DND is getting freebies for all the big items we are buying, its one way to stretch our budget. I wonder what freebie the Spaniards and French are willing to give out, though? Maybe the Descubiertas or Leygues.

      Lets give the PhN until the end of this month to announce the bid winner for the Frigates, I hope there won’t be any more delays …

  7. Hi RHK,

    Do you have any idea how much was alloted to DND in the proposed 2015 Php2.6T budget?

    It’s quite interesting to know because there’s no mention about it in our leading media reports…

  8. Hi Rhk,

    On your own opinion, to be able to have a missile defense system from our would be adversary. Do we need a 3 layers of defense. Like short range, medium range and long range missile defense sytem. Or we need only the short range. Thanks…

    1. The ideal minimum should be a medium range and a short range SAM. Remember that there is still a decoy system which is actually the last layer of defense against AShMs …

    1. I’m a bit skeptical about this aircraft. They are marketing it for “Counter-Insurgency (CI)” purposes, and yet a Super Tucano with its single turboprop engine would be cheaper to operate. Sure, it has a larger payload, but I think the ST’s payload would be enough already, there’s not much value I think for an aircraft with a larger payload but will be more expensive to operate for CI. Its supposed to be for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) purposes also, but a twin-turboprop engined aircraft would be cheaper and do the job just as well, if not better.

      As an Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT), the FA-50 is better because it has better performance giving it better all around capability. This aircraft will compete more with subsonic AJTs with combat capability like the BAE Hawk, L-159, etc. The Hawk and L-159 might have less payload, but they are a bit cheaper, too. For the Philippine’s purposes, I’m just not sure if it has a place for our air force.

    1. Really? Its a bummer if there’s no ST among the bidders, then. It would be nice to know who the bidders and what planes are the options, so we can make a comparison. I thought that because of the low volume of only 6 aircraft, the ST will have to go thru a 3rd party rather than directly from Embraer.

      At any rate, I think even the Scorpion is out of our budget. The budget for the CAS bidding is only USD 18.4 million per aircraft with Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) already, while it looks like the price of the Scorpion is USD 20 million for the base aircraft only, without ILS.

      Without the ST, then my vote would be for the AT-6, although not sure if it will pass the service requirements of the bidding …

    1. Still no news, we will just have to wait as the AFP is taking its own, sweet time on proceeding on the bidding …

  9. HI RHK,

    How do you think the development in Ukraine will define and determine the following:
    1. US Role as Superpower
    2. UN action
    3. China significance in the issue
    4. EU’s relationship with Russia
    5. Malaysia’s stand on international issues especially in the Spratly’s
    6. the significance (or insignificance) of ADIZ of China, Japan and Sokor
    7. Russia’s future and the consequences as well as their role on this.
    8. And most Importantly, how will or shall the PH act on this especially that there are 3 Filipinos on board on that plane.

    I Remember that this is event is no different with the KAL JUmbo jet that was shoot down by a Mig over the Sakhalin Island by the Soviet Union. The worlds almost collided and the Cold war almost turned the earth into nuclear waste.

    Please share your insight….

    1. I don’t think that the incident will trigger a worsening of the situation between the West and Russia mainly because it seems to be an honest mistake. The audio evidence seems to show that the rebels did not know the aircraft was a commercial airliner until they found the wreckage.

      The UN could help in terms of providing justice and compensation for the victims. Putting the guilty parties to justice will not be easy, but providing adequate compensation might be easier as I think Russia will try to lessen the negative impact of this incident as much as possible.

      I think Malaysia will come under a lot of intense scrutiny as to why they insisted on overflying a warzone, and there will be issues on justice and compensation on that as well, I don’t know how successfully it will be implemented, though …

      1. According to cnn malaysia airlines took the route because it was not blocked yet from commercial flight but some airlines already avoided the route even before. I think malaysia air banked on the fact that they are in good relations with the russians. Richard quest also implied that it was a cost saving route but at the expense of the passengers. Nevertheless that sam was so effective and it is obvious putin allowed the rebels use of that tech. It will not lead to war but it gives ukraine, nato the moral ground in destroying the rebels. If putin continues to push hard he will be demonized in the world except for his own country. All he has to do is bide his time again when the issue is gone. In a way he is doing what china is doing as well. Except that we are waiting for china to screw up bigtime.

      2. That’s a good observation, Malaysia does have exceptional relations with Russia and the Chinese …

      3. Its funny because for all they know the US is according to the survey in defense news they see the US as a threat and china and correspondingly russia as an ally. But it turns out their allies and they themselves screw up with one another. Malaysia vs china flight 370 and russia vs malaysia flight 17. I dont know if its coincidence or just bad karma for making deals with super powers with less than stellar human rights records slash communists.
        In lighter news maybe we should get those s300 or 400 just to scare the chinese even more. Karma will have its day if a chinese fighter aircraft starts bombing runs in the spratlys.

      4. I’ve been doing a little bit of research about the S-300, and so far this is what I have found so far:
        – Cost per missile battery is actually a lot higher than what I found before, it is actually around USD 150 million each. Expensive, but cheaper than the at least USD 600 million the US is selling their Patriot missiles for, and the S-300 is better than the Patriot.
        – After Russia, our enemy China is the 2nd biggest user of the S-300, so I am not sure if it is really good to have a missile that our enemy is so familiar with.

  10. RHK, I was amused that I got intrigued by the Scorpion plane before until it made news that it’s making “heads turn” (or should I say arms-twisting?) in the BAC.

    It just gotten more interesting…

    1. Well, if we are serious in getting the Brahmos, the Scorpion would be better than using medium or large transport aircraft to carry those missiles. Personally, I would prefer a supersonic aircraft to carry the Brahmos, but those might be too expensive for us, so the Scorpion would be the next best thing.

  11. I think you should start an article on the S400, rhk111. The Russians are beginning to offer us their hardware. The US might be the world leader on MRF technology but Russia trumps the US big-time on SAM development. They are trying to gain leverage against the diplomatic fallout resulting from the Malaysian Airlines crash. Philippines is their best bet because everyone knows we have a smile-with-a-dagger-at-back relations with Malaysia.

    1. Hmm … That’s a good idea, thanks for the suggestion, I will take it into consideration. However, I am actually in a bind now, for weeks I have nothing really that interesting I want to blog about, but suddenly this week some nice topics have come out.

      There’s the Hyundai’s HDF-3000 and Navantia’s Avante 2200, confirmed candidates in the new Frigate bidding which I really wanted to blog about, but since the winner is to be announced this month, the results will probably be out before I can finish both blogs. Then there’s also the Textron Scorpion.

      As for the S-400, yeah, that’s a good topic to write about. Its one hell of a system, no western SAM can claim to come close to its 400 km range. At that range, I’m beginning to question the necessity of getting a short-range interceptor aircraft. I agree, Russia trumps the west not only when it comes to SAMs, but to AShMs as well. Anyway, let me sort things out and see which one my writing muse will select …

    2. The S-400 is expensive, estimated to be around USD 106 million for 1 firing battery with 2 launchers. The S-300 is about half that price at around USD 53 million per firing battery, more affordable, but of course lesser capability: https://russiandefpolicy.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/whats-it-cost/

      But then again the S-300 might be enough for us, huh, with its 200 km range. Certainly much cheaper than the Patriot, which has an even lesser range …

  12. I hope this pushes through. It’s about time to punish the US for dilly-dallying on their defense treaties here in Asia. The Americans need to fix their economy anyway. The Russians can give us tactical information on China’s hardware, which they basically supplied themselves.

  13. sir i saw a pictures of HDC 1400 light corvette in a facebook page of philippine defense news and these pictures taken during ADAS 2014. my questions are: what is the specs of this ship? since only the main characteristics were seen in the picture. is this ship affordable for our phl navy if we opted to buy a lot of this to patrol our vast sealine. this ship can be used as missile ship for assymetric warfare as roilo golez said? he said that we should invest for vast number of missile ships to counter china’s naval superior strenght. mukhang angas at mura.

    1. It was also the first time for me to see the HDC-1400 Light Corvette by Hyundai, and unfortunately I could not find a lot of reference for it in the internet. I was particularly curious about its displacement, but I couldn’t find any other info so far.

      It is promising as a “Swarm Boat” as it has a main gun. The only thing it lacks are SAMs, which I think can be rectified by removing the helicopter landing pad and putting a Barak 1 or RAM launcher instead.

    1. Strange. They should at least be accepting future orders, not denying all possible exports outright. I think there is more to this than just them prioritizing the local market first …

    1. The more, the better, so a couple of hundred would be best.

      But again, these land-based AShMs would only be good for Sea Denial strategy. If we are going to put an Oil Rig on Recto Bank, I don’t think you would want to be shooting missiles that way all the way from Palawan …

  14. FA-50 AIM-120 integration cost is 30 million. (KAI released)
    AIM-120 is not required in the FA-50 Korea Air Force.
    You have to pay if you want to integrate the Philippine Air Force.
    And do not trust Wikipedia.

    1. Is this a one time fee, or is this per aircraft? If its a one time fee, I think its worth it, provided that the Philippines can afford AMRAAMs …

  15. nice analysis of brahmos

    Vietnam is close to getting brahmos. so if russia is supporting Vietnam (indirectly) it mean they are also not very happy with china messing about with sea-routes. so Philippines if requests for brahmos, chances are they will get it.

    Second point is that brahmos is very costly. it is around 3 million a piece. with salve mode you would many of these. i wonder how many countries can afford it. also for anti-ship configuration one needs a heavy frigate. it should be around 4000 tons atleast(i think). again not many have it. but it is certainly worth to have, especially defensive purpose against a powerful adversary.

    third point is that submarine version of brahmos is very damaging as well.

    1. Is the Brahmos USD 3 million each, or USD 2 million each? Still expensive, but can you provide me a link of the news item, Manoj? Thanks.

      Yes, the Brahmos at 3,000 kg is extremely heavy. It might be possible for smaller ships to carry them as long as the ship was designed from the ground up to carry such weight, meaning the ship was designed AROUND the Brahmos, like this concept of a modified Molniya-class Corvette carrying it:

      However, just adding such heavy missiles into existing ship designs I think will be generally difficult for most ships …

    1. Not so familiar with the Submarine-launched version of the Brahmos, although I do think that the article saying that Aircraft Carriers are obsolete because of it is a bit of an exaggeration.

      India has the Brahmos missile that we need, I hope the Philippines can foster a closer, more solid alliance with India so will have a better chance of getting it for our armed forces …

      1. Nah, I wouldn’t bet on it. I think it is either Vietnam, or Indonesia. Those countries have been a lot more active getting weapons and weapons platforms than us …

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