The country is now well on its way to becoming a regional military power with the recent acquisition by the national government of several batteries of supersonic cruise missiles that will be used for coastal defense by the navy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The supersonic cruise missile deal was reached between the Philippine government represented by National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and the head of the BrahMos Aerospace in India headed by Atul Dinkar Rane for the purchase of three batteries of Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles worth
368 million dollars or 18.9 Billion pesos.

The shore-based medium range supersonic anti-ship missiles provides the country with the ability to reach out and target opponent ships from land. Going online we find that the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile which is also designated as a PJ10 is a “medium-range Ramjet Supersonic Cruise Missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, airplanes or land.” It is also claimed that the missile is the fastest of its kind in the world with an effective range of 400 kilometers. Now that is a lot of distance.

Now a missile battery usually consists of three autonomous mobile launchers with two or three missile tubes coupled with a radar, support vehicles and the technology that goes along with it. Think of it as an eighteen-wheeler truck with several rockets on its bed and controlled from some distance by another vehicle that has radar, personnel and technology to guide the rockets in its flight patch. Comparing it to other modern and high-end subsonic cruise missiles the Brahmos is
being claimed to have three times more velocity, two point five to three times more flight range, three to four times more seeker range and nine times more kinetic energy.

Truly one hell of a missile punch. When these missiles will arrive in December of this year you can
expect them to be positioned in areas along the western and southern part of the country where we are still contending with the maritime patrol boats of China who continue to apply bullying tactics
to intimidate Filipino fishermen from engaging in their livelihood. By having these weapons as a
deterrent factor China would in all likelihood start to avoid coming too close to the country’s own naval ships while at sea. But on another end the AFP and the national government should now seriously consider also having its own fleet of submarines.

Based on online reports the Department of National Defense (DND) has come up with a list of possible suppliers for its submarine acquisition plan which includes the French Naval Group Scorpene class submarine and the South Korean Daewoo 1400N Jang Bogo class submarine. The DND plans to acquire two submarines in the coming decade and another four submarines in the succeeding years. The scorpene-class submarine is a diesel-electric attack submarine that has advanced stealth features and armed with long range guided guided torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, as well as state of the art SONAR suite and sensor.

On the other hand the Jang Bogo class submarine is also an attack submarine. It is armed with
fourteen torpedoes and subharpoon missiles and can stay underwater for up to 50 days. That’s a lot of underwater time for patrolling and monitoring our seas particularly the western Philippine sea.
This direction of modernization adopted by the AFP and the government shows it is serious in its goal to achieve a high level of military development similar to what other countries in the region are already or have already accomplished. By having supersonic missiles and submarines at the ready the country will be able to better protect its territory and sovereignty particularly during these times of geopolitical upheavals that have seen superpowers flexing their military might and influence around the globe.

While there is still time to prepare for contingencies the government and the AFP should fast track and focus its efforts in modernizing the capabilities and equipment of the military to at least equal that of other countries in South East Asia. Based on the latest power index in ranking the military
powers in South East Asia the Philippines is ranked number 5 while Indonesia is ranked number
1, followed by Vietnam which is ranked number 2, Thailand which is ranked number 3 and Singapore which is ranked number 4. (https:/ /w ww.globalf ir epow er.com / cou nt r ies-lis ting-sout h east – asia.php) Of course the Philippine ranking will drastically change when the missiles arrive in December and if the country is able to purchase one or two submarines to augment its naval fleet.

Amianan Balita Ngayon