'Brahmos' beats Covid, Philippines Navy first buyer

Published on : 06:12 PM Jan 28, 2022

Indian defence manufacturing’s flagship product Brahmos is not aimed at being just a money-spinner for India, it is primed to achieve strategic gains and be a flag-bearer of the ‘Make in India’ effort, writes ETV Bharat's Sanjib Kr Baruah.

New Delhi: With the signing of a $375 million or Rs 2,770 crore deal for at least three missile batteries with the Philippines Navy on Friday, India is buttressing its strategic outreach policy as well as advancing its ‘Make in India’ programme. On Friday, a tweet from the twitter handle Brahmos Missile, said: “It’s a proud moment for us! This export contract of shore-based anti-ship missile system of @BrahmosMissile will lay strong foundation for the vision of #MakeinIndia and Make for the World.”

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After India and Russia’s joint planned ambitious effort to export the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile to other countries got seriously impeded by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for the last two years, a deal was inked on Friday for supply of the much-in-demand missile for the Philippines Navy. “All our plans had received a serious setback due to the ongoing pandemic. The focus of all governments, who were our potential buyers, was on the pandemic and the chaos it churned. But now after the signing of the deal, the first supplies will reach the Philippines Navy in just a year,” a source at Brahmos told ETV Bharat.

The export of the missile to other nations has to have the acquiescence of both the Indian and Russian governments as the missile development and manufacturing is a India-Russia joint venture set up in 1998 between the India government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Russian state-owned NPO Mashinostroyenia. ‘Brahmos’ is a portmanteau drawn from the Brahmaputra river and the Moskva river. Advertisement

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Also read: India successfully test-fires new version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile

All Brahmos missiles are manufactured in India by Brahmos Aerospace, where India owns a 50.5 per cent share while Russia has 49.5 per cent share. The entire revenues generated from sale of the Brahmos is to be kept aside for research and development (R&D) activity in order to further develop the missile and to keep on technologically upgrading it.

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“While the Russians are seeing it purely as a business opportunity, for India it is different. Our aims are not just to sell the missile system but to achieve strategic objectives in the light of developments in other regions including the South China Sea,” the source added in an apparent reference to China. But what is making it easier for India is Russia’s effort to broad-base its weapons clientele by aggressively pursuing new markets in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Brahmos has several variants. Besides being capable of being launched from land, sea and air, a hypersonic version capable of speeds of Mach 7-8 is also being developed. But as of now, only the ‘land to sea’ or the defensive version of the missile is for sale. The source added that after Philippines Navy, another contract, much larger, is likely from the Philippines Army. “There is much interest for the missile in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America.”

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Also read: Brahmos production unit comes to UP, defence minister lays foundation stone

Besides India and China, other big buyers of Russian weapons are Algeria and Egypt in Africa and Vietnam in south-east Asia. Touted to be among the fastest cruise missiles, the 3-ton Brahmos, with a strike range of about 450 km, is a two-stage precision strike projectile that operates on a fire-and-forget principle. With a top speed of 2.8 mach (3,347 km an hour), it is capable of carrying a 300 kg warhead.

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Besides India license-producing the Russian Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft, the T-90 tank, and the Brahmos collaboration, India and Russia launched another JV in 2019 called the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited to mass-produce the AK-203 assault rifle. In 2020, a technology development contract was signed between DRDO and Russia’s Rosoboronexport to develop advanced pyrotechnic ignition systems to power rockets and missiles.

Watch: Updated version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile test-fired

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