Category Archives: Anti-Ship Missiles (AShM)

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.
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Anti-Ship Missiles and Their Weapons Platforms for the Philippine Armed Forces

‘ASM Weapons Platforms’
If you look at a map of the Philippines below, one you will notice is that is is surrounded by large bodies of water on all sides: The Luzon Strait in the North, the South China Sea in the West, the Philippine Sea in the East and the Celebes and Sulu Seas in the South.
philippine_map

This means that any invasion against it will have to involve ships, LOTS of ships. Aircrafts have speed, but they can’t match the amount of payload that ships can carry. Hence, it is only right that our external defense strategy should involve defense against ships.

In World War 1, defeating ships involved using other ships with large cannons in Battleship vs. Battleship showdowns. In World War 2, it involved planes to strafe/bomb/torpedo other ships. In this day and age, it involves using Anti-Ship Missiles or ASMs.
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Light Anti-Ship Missiles for the Philippine Navy

The Philippines’ Department of Defense (DoD) last year announced that it is looking at the possibility of acquiring Anti-Ship weapons to beef up the country’s Maritime Surveillance Capability[1]. I think it is about time as I feel that Anti Ship Missiles (ASMs) are needed for our warships in order to improve their capability of going up against enemy ships, especially at this time when China has been BLATANTLY showing aggressive acts in terms of acquiring our territorial waters.

‘Which Ships?’
The Philippine Navy (PN) currently have a total of around 14 Corvettes and Frigates. Of these, only 5 are truly modern (3 Peacock class Corvettes and 2 Hamilton class Frigates), while the rest are World War 2 relics. The PN does have 38 Patrol Craft vessels, all of whom are fairly modern, with the oldest class manufactured in the 1970s.[2]
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