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Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy

The Philippine Navy has embarked on the acquisition of a shore-based missile system that can be used to defend against naval surface threats, and with a potential secondary role of attacking land targets.

The Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System (SBASMS) Acquisition Project is a project that was included under the 2nd List of Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP) after it failed to be included in the Php300 billion Horizon 2 Phase Priority Projects approved by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in June 2018.

The project intends to acquire at least 3 batteries worth of truck-mounted mobile land based missile systems, networked to the Armed Forces of the Philippines C4ISTAR System that includes air and naval surveillance and targeting platforms, and potentially linked to allied surveillance and targeting data.

The Brahmos mobile launch vehicle unit with 3 ready-to-fire Brahmos supersonic anti-ship missiles. Credits to original source of photo.

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Project Summary:

Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Project

Note: Edited as of 17 June 2022.


* End User: Philippine Navy (Philippine Marine Corps)

* Quantity: 3 batteries on Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile Systems

* Modernization Phase: 2nd List of Horizon 2 phase

* Project ABC: Php19,000,000,000.00 

* Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government deal with India

* Source of Funding: AFP Modernization Trust Fund

* SARO Release:
   - SARO-BMB-D-21-0013764 dated 27 December 2021 worth Php1,300,000,000.00, and SARO-BMB-D-21-0031765 dated 27 December 2021 worth Php1,535,000,000.00 - form part of 15% initial downpayment
   - SARO-BMB-D-22-0004797 dated 13 June 2022 worth Php5,670,000,000.00 - 30% of contract value
   - SARO-BMB-D-23-0026646 dated 11 December 2023 worth Php11,810,626.00 - foreign exchange differential
   - SARO-BMB-D-23-0026645 dated 11 December 2023 worth Php5,670,000,000.00 - 30% of contract value

* Winning Proponent: BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd. (India)

* Product for Delivery: 3 batteries of BrahMos Maritime Coastal Battery land-based supersonic anti-ship missile systems, including supporting vehicles and subsystems, spare parts and ammunition, and ILS.

* Contract Price: Php18,900,000,000.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 27 January 2018

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PNSBASMSAcquisition

* Project Status: SAROs for initial 15% downpayment released by DBM on 27 December 2021. NOA released on 31 December 2021, and Contract Signing was done on 28 January 2022. NTP released on 14 February 2022, with expected delivery of first batch by 2023. Another SARO worth 30% of contract value was released by DBM on 13 June 2022. 3rd milestone payment SARO worth 30% of contract value was released by DBM on 11 December 2023. Delivery of first batch is expected to be made before end of 2023.

An example showing how the Brahmos missile system is networked to surveillance and targeting platforms and Command & Control unit in a typical coastal defense configuration. Photo credits to original source.


Background:

The Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System (SBASMS) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy was actually raised due to the Philippine Navy's disappointment on the decision by the Philippine Army to shelve an old project, the Shore-Based Missile System(SBMS) which was cancelled back in 2015 by the Philippine Army leadership led by then Philippine Army Command General Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, who decided that the Philippine Army would rather spend the Php6.5 billion budget of the project for other essential projects.

One of the main purposes of the SBMS project was to assist the Philippine Navy in providing limited Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) capabilities in the West Philippine Sea including the Kalayaan Island Group, despite its limited range if deployed in Palawan.

The idea was to help give the Marines (which are under the Philippine Navy) a better chance to fight off a potential naval invasion of the KIG by Chinese or any other potential enemy force.

Back then, the Philippine Army has selected the IMI Systems Coast & Island Defense System (CIDS) which is essentially 2 batteries of land-based rocket launcher systems based on the IMI Lynx rocket-missile launching system, and the IMI Extended Range Artillery (EXTRA) guided rocket munition.

The IMI EXTRA is capable of delivering a 120 kilogram warhead with a maximum range of around 150 kilometers. MaxDefense sources from IMI Systems later on confirmed that it can actually go beyond 150 kilometers. The system was also capable of launching other munitions including the Delilah cruise missile which was among the future capabilities offered to the Philippine Arm should it have proceeded with the SBMS project.

The IMI CIDS based on IMI Lynx launcher and IMI EXTRA guided munitions. Photo credits to original source.


Fast forward to 2016, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, specifically then AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (J3) BGen. Noel Clement submitted a "wish list" to the AFP leadership that includes "a singular shore-based capability (eg. Brahmos) to provide strategic-level firepower to defend the country".

From the statement made by J3, who eventually became AFP Chief of Staff from September 2019 to January 2020, it already appears that there was already sentiments from the military leadership on acquiring a more capable missile system than what the IMI CIDS can offer, with the Brahmos even cited as an example.

With the Philippine Navy left out by the cancellation of the Philippine Army's SBMS Project, the service then made a commitment to make sure that they will have their own shore based missile system, and won't be reliant on the Philippine Army.

This time, instead of a guided rocket system, both services are after an actual surface-to-surface missile system, which can do sea-skimming flight and course changes while flying to its target - something the guided rockets like the IMI EXTRA cannot do.

The Brahmos, like most anti-ship cruise missiles, fly at low levels of less than 15 meters from sea level. Photo taken from Pakistan Defence forum.

The Brahmos, like most anti-ship cruise missiles, fly at low levels of less than 15 meters from sea level. Photo taken from Pakistan Defence forum.


Advantages on Selecting the Brahmos Missile System:

According to our sources, several models were considered by the Philippine Navy and Philippine Army, including Russian, Indian, Korean, and European solutions. In the end, both services agreed on acquiring India's Brahmos land-based missile system for the following reasons:

1. The Philippine government has been actively promoting an "Independent Foreign Policy" that is "Friends with all, Enemies of none". This includes expanding its sources of weapon systems, which includes considering products from India in which the Philippines has a growing relationship with. So far, India has failed to supply a more relevant weapon system to the Philippines aside from Force Protection Equipment (body armor, helmets) from MKU Ltd., and Thermal Imagers from Tonbo Imaging. Awarding this project to India gives the Philippines a good opportunity to expand relations with India.

2. Both services agreed to have a supersonic missile for consideration, rather than the usual subsonic missile used by most Western countries. A supersonic missile would be more difficult to intercept by hard kill solutions like gun and missile-based Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS) due to its speed and ability to close the gap faster.

The missile also does an S-manoeuvre just before reaching its target, which makes interception even more difficult considering it is doing so while flying at supersonic speeds.

Gun-based CIWS like the Chinese Type 818 as shown above could be useless against supersonic sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles like the Brahmos. Credits to original source of photo.


3. Having a supersonic missile means having a bigger kinetic energy upon impact. It means that a single missile could have devastating effects even to ships as large as a destroyer or cruiser, not just because of the warhead it carries, but also the force it bring at such speed.

4. Supersonic missiles also cover distances at a shorter time than subsonic missiles, which gives the target a smaller reaction time. 

5. The Brahmos missile carries a 300-kilogram semi-armor piercing warhead, which can penetrate and damage even the toughest ship hull armor plating.


6. While Russia can also offer supersonic missiles, CAATSA issues remain a problem. Going with India means buying something comparable without the CAATSA issues with it.

7. Pricing is very competitive for the Brahmos missile system. Apparently comparable Western products are far more expensive and more difficult to obtain due to the system's tactical and strategic value. 

A subsonic anti-ship missile like the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile can do this damage on a frigate-sized warship. The Brahmos carries a larger warhead, and approaches its target at a faster speed, enabling more damage due to its warhead and kinetic energy. Credits to original source of photo.


Disadvantages:

While the Brahmos missile is a potent weapon, it also has disadvantages.

1. One cannot just fire anti-ship missiles at anyone anytime, unless fired upon. Should the Philippines be the first to fire in anger using this weapon without using other means to push away a naval threat, it could be a reason for a war to happen, and for world opinion to be against the Philippines.

2. The SBASMS has no other use other than to fire against enemy ships, or if the land attack missile is used, it can fire against enemy land targets. But that may not even happen during the entire serviceable life of the weapon system unless a real conflict between the Philippines and other countries happen. Thus, the weapon is more of a deterrent against other countries, which is exactly one of the main purpose of the Area Access / Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy.

Unlike ships and aircraft, like the Jose Rizal-class frigate above and the F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter on top, truck based systems cannot really move in a huge area, and has no other use rather than to launch missiles. Ships and aircraft on the other hand can move and be made available at certain areas of the country, while can also be used for other missions aside from being a missile launch platform. Credits to original source for the top photo, while above photo originally from Bemil Korean defense page.


3. Being land based means it is only bound within the land areas of the Philippine mainland. It is unsafe to send the system in the Kalayaan Island Group due to it being easy to be targeted by ship, land or submarine launched missiles, or by missiles launched by combat aircraft. Truck based means its mobility is also limited unlike ships or aircraft that carry anti-ship missiles which can move around a wider area and the platforms can be used for other purposes.

4. Related to the third reason, the Philippines being an archipelago means that it would not be easy to move around the truck-based weapon system without using ships or aircraft. For example, if it is deployed in Palawan, it would be dependent on the availability of roads to move around. Without transport ships or aircraft, it would be stuck within Palawan Island only.

5. It remains to be seen if India could export the newer version of the Brahmos land-based surface-to-surface missile variant, which increased the range from 290-300 kilometers to 500 kilometers. If the Philippines still get the older, shorter-ranged variant, the missile might not be able to cover the entire Kalayaan Island Group and West Philippine Sea/Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone even from the fringes of the Philippine Mainland.

Infographic above shows an example of how the coverage of a standard Brahmos shore-based missile system would be like, if deployed in Batanes, Zambales, Palawan, and Tawi Tawi. Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal would be covered but will be very limited, while not the entire KIG will be covered too. This is based on the original 290-300km range of the Brahmos missile. Infographic by MaxDefense Philippines.


MaxDefense is still trying to get confirmation from sources if the Philippine Navy, as well as the Philippine Army's Brahmos missile systems would be the newer variant which now has a 500 kilometer maximum range.

Despite the range, it might not be covered by Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) restrictions since the warhead is less than 500 kilograms, which is within the MTCR allowances.

To compare with the earlier infographic, this time we considered that the maximum range of the Brahmos missile system that both the PA and PN will be acquiring is 500 kilometers. Notice the huge difference in terms of coverage. Not only can they cover a huge portion of the country's EEZ with less deployments, it can also cover the entire Kalayaan Island Group, Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, and could even reach friendly neighbours in case relations become sour in the future for some unexpected reasons. Infographic by MaxDefense Philippines.


While the Philippine Army is only after 2 batteries, the Philippine Navy is after 3 batteries of Brahmos anti-ship missile systems. Combined, this will give the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines with a total of 5 Brahmos anti-ship missile batteries which it could deploy in several locations, mostly facing the West Philippine Sea and to the northern end of Luzon facing the Luzon Strait and Babuyan Channel.


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U P D A T E S:
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28 December 2021:

The initial funding for the Philippine Navy's Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile System (SBASMS) Acquisition Project was released by the Department of Budget Management (DBM) yesterday 27 December 2021.

Two SAROs with a total worth of Php2.835 billion covers the 15% initial payment for the project, which is worth around Php18.9 billion.

This project is separate from the Philippine Army's Land Based Anti-Ship Missile System (LBASMS) Acquisition Project, which is also expected to be funded soon, most likely in early 2022.

MaxDefense Philippines previous analyzed and reported that India's BrahMos Maritime Coastal Defence System variant of the system would be acquired under a Government-to-Government (G2G) deal with the Indian Government.

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12 January 2021:

The Department of National Defense has finally posted the Notice of Award for the project in favor of India's Brahmos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, with a price proposal of US$374,962,800.00. Philippine pesos equivalent is around Php18.9 billion.

Brahmos Aerospace received the document on 31 December 2021.

With the NOA released, we expect the Contract to be signed by January 2022, and a Notice to Proceed to be released thereafter.

A copy of the Notice of Award as posted on DND's website.

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28 January 2022:

The DND has confirmed that it has signed the contract for the Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project with India's Brahmos Aerospace earlier today.

A virtual ceremony was held, with Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and other DND and AFP officials present at the DND's office at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Brahmos Aerospace Director General Mr. Aul Dinkar Rane was virtually present and signed on behalf of the company, while Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Amb. Shambhu Kumaran was physically present in the DND.

Brahmos Aerospace will supply the Brahmos Maritime Coastal Batteries to the Philippine Navy, with 3 batteries to be operated by the Philippine Marine Corps' newly formed Coastal Defense Regiment.

Photo credits to DND.

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20 March 2022:

The Notice to Proceed (NTP) for the project has been released by the Department of National Defense, with the document dated 14 February 2022, and received by Brahmos Aerospace Pvt Ltd on 18 February 2022.

The release of the NTP is the signal for the project to commence, and is the basis for the delivery deadlines as stipulated in the contract.

The front page of the NTP from DND. Photo credits to DND.

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08 April 2022:

The Philippine Marine Corps has activated the Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile Battalion (provisional) on 03 April 2022.

This is in preparation on the expected arrival of the first batch of Brahmos coastal defense missile systems in 2023 from Brahmos Aerospace of India. 3 batteries worth of systems were ordered by the DND last year.

The battalion will be led by Lt. Col. Miguel P. Perez PN (Marines), and will be part of the PMC's Coastal Defense Regiment.

Photo credits to PNA.

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23 June 2022:

The DBM has released 30% of the contract price worth Php5,670,000,000.00 as milestone payment for the project on 13 June 2022.

This means that Brahmos Aerospace have reached a milestone on the project, although we do not have enough information due to unavailability on our part of the schedule of payment for the project.

So far, the Philippine Government has paid 45% of the project cost, which means that it is highly possible for Brahmos Aerospace to deliver the first batch, or at least the 1st battery by 2023.

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18 February 2023:

21 personnel from the Philippine Marine Corps completed their training on operation of the Brahmos Coastal Defense Missile System in India, and received their interim missile badges and pins from the Indian Navy's Naval Chief of Staff Admiral Radhakrishman Hari Kumar.

The training is part of the package when the Philippine Navy acquired the Brahmos Anti-Ship Missile CDS as part of the Philippine Navy's Shore Based Antj-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project that was signed by the DND and Brahmos Aerospace last 2022.

While there are reports that the first batch of Brahmos CDS will arrive in the Philippines this year, it remains to be seen since MaxDefense PH received confirmation from sources that Brahmos requested for a delivery time extension as they cannot meet the delivery of the initial package based on deadline stipulated in the contract.



Photo credits to the Philippine Marine Corps' Facebook page.

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02 March 2023:

It looks like the Philippine Marine Corps will be receiving a modified variant of the Brahmos anti-ship missile coastal defense system to suit its limited budget.

Instead of mobile firing units with 3 Brahmos anti-ship missile tubes each, the model shown below and displayed in the Philippine Marine Corps Coastal Defense Regiment's headquarters only show 2 missile tubes.

This means less ready missiles per battery for the Philippine variant.

A typical Indian Brahmos Coastal Defense Battery consists of 4 missile firing units with 3 missiles each, bringing a total of 12 ready to fire missiles per battery.

Meanwhile, MaxDefense PH believes that based on the project cost of the PMC's Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project, a typical.Philippine Brahmos Coastal Defense Battery may only have a maximum of 4 missile firing units with 2 missiles each, or a total of 8 readdy to fire missiles per battery, or a minimum of 3 missile firing units with 2 missiles each, or a total of just 6 ready to fire missiles per battery.

This is exactly what happened to the some acquisitions by the Philipoine Army and Philippine Air Force lately, which either modified the system or reduced the quantity of the firing units to suit the low budget.

A typical ATMOS 155mm self propelled howitzers battery of the Philippine Army only has 4 howitzers instead of six, while a typical SPYDER-MR air defense battery of the Philippine Air Force only has 3 missile firing units with 4 missiles each instead of 6 missile firing umits with 8 missiles each and using a less powerful radar.

If the PMC indeed receives missile firing units with only 2 missile tubes each, we hope that it can be modified to carry 3 missiles in the future should more budget be allocated for improving the systems.


Photo credits to BGen. Peter Suchiangco (Res).


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14 March 2023:

These photos were sent to our parent page MaxDefense Philippines by one of its community members, who pointed out that there is a scale model in the Philippine Marine Corps of the Missile Firing Unit of the Brahmos Coastal Defense Battery showing 3 missile tubes.

Previously MaxDefense PH pointed out a photo taken recently that shows a Brahmos CDB missile firing unit scale model in PMC paint scheme with only 2 missile tubes, which is one less than the standard missile firing unit used by the Indian military.

At least this is good news. Its just a matter of knowing which scale model is the latest, or which one is the correct one.

The Brahmos Coastal Defence Battery was selected and ordered for the Philippine Marine Corps' Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile System (SBASMS) Acquisition Project, a 2nd List of Horizon 2 phase project under the RAFPMP.

Photo credits to MaxDefense Philippines community member.


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12 May 2023:

One of the major exhibitors in  the Philippine Fleet Defense Expo 2023 was Brahmos Aerospace of India, which sold the Brahmos Anti-Ship Missile Mobile Coastal Batteries to the Philippine Navy/Marine Corps, and is trying to finalize a deal for the same system for the Philippine Army.

One of the noticeable display was a scale model of a Brahmos Mobile Launching Unit in Philippine Marine Corps paint scheme, with only 2 missiles mounted on the truck instead of the usual 3 missiles found on standars Brahmos MLUs used by India.

MaxDefense Philippines highlighted this several months ago when the same model was displayed in the PMC Headquarters. 

This could probably be the reason why the deal signed by the DND was slightly cheaper than expected, since they are squeezing 3 batteries for Php18.9 billion. There is also a possibility (but still unconfirmed) that the Philippine variant of a Mobile Coastal Battery may have 1 less MLU, or only having 3 MLUs per battery instead of 4. This will effectively reduce the number of ready to fire missiles of a CDB from 12 to just 6.

Hopefully the PMC variant will still have 4 MLUs per battery.

Photo credits to Frances Mangosing.


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15 August 2023:

Brrahmos Aerospace made a fairly "basic"  comparison of their Brahmos supersonic cruise missile against against the US Tomahawk, European SCALP EG, Chinese CJ-10/DF-10, and Pakistani Babur missiles.

Brahmos' main advantage has always been its speed and kinetic power, which is said to be 9x more than a subsonic missile. This would devastate large naval targets like destroyers, amphibious assault ships and even aircraft carriers if hit directly at good spots.

The Philippine Marine Corps will be receiving the first batch of their shore-based Brahmos Coastal Defense Batteries soon, while those for the Philippine Army are being finalized for immediate contracting.


Photo exclusively shared to MaxDefense Philippines, and by extension to Philippine Defense Resource.

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05 October 2023:

Defense Sec. Gilberto Teodoro mentioned during a recent chance interview that he is optimistic that Brahmos Aerospace can deliver the first batch of Brahmos Coastal Defense Batteries to the Philippine Marine Corps by the end of the year, as stipulated in the contract signed by the company with the Department of National Defense (DND).

Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Santha Kumaran earlier assured Sec. Teodoro of the timely delivery of the BrahMos anti-ship missile systems.

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13 December 2023:

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released the 3rd milestone payment for the project, with a SARO worth Php11,390,400,000.00 released on 11 December 2023, in which Php5,670,000,000.00 is for the Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile System Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy.

The value is around 30% of the contract price of the project, bringing the total payment made by the Philippine Government to 75%. of the project's contract price.

The payment appears to be a sign that the initial batch of BrahMos shore-based anti-ship missiles will be arriving soon, and the manufacture of the rest of the product are in advanced stages.

SARO screengrabbed from DBM.


A separate SARO worth Php11,810,626.00 was released also on 11 December 2023, to cover for the Foreign Exchanage differentials brought upon by a devaluating Philippine pesos.

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First post and edit: 31 May 2020
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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