Philippine Brahmos Missile Base Drops A Sea Gauntlet On China

(MENAFN- Asia Times) The Philippines' construction of its first BrahMos anti-ship missile base highlights a bold military modernization move amid rising tensions with China in the South China Sea.

However, the move's success is imperiled by inadequate intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and air defense capabilities, potential logistical challenges and the complexities of regional geopolitics.

This month, Naval News reported that the Philippines is constructing its first BrahMos anti-ship missile base at the Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui in Zambales, Western Luzon. Naval News says that the base, which faces the contested South China Sea, is set to house the supersonic cruise missiles acquired from India in a landmark US$375 million deal in 2022.

The report notes that the Philippines' procurement of three BrahMos missile batteries marked the first international sale of India's highly regarded system, sparking interest from other regional nations including Vietnam and Indonesia – both of which also have South China Sea disputes with China.

Satellite imagery has revealed the new missile base includes a high-bay facility for missile maintenance and assembly and a sheltered magazine bunker for storage. The Philippine Marine Corps Coastal Defense Regiment will operate the base, which is strategically positioned to strike targets up to 290-300 kilometers away, including the disputed Scarborough Shoal occupied by China.

The Naval News report adds that the BrahMos system's mobile nature allows for flexible deployment to various firing locations, enhancing the country's coastal defense capabilities.

The report says the Philippines may soon make follow-up orders for the BrahMos as the Philippine Army has expressed interest in procuring the system, indicating a possible broader adoption of advanced military technology across the Philippine armed forces.

While the Philippines' BrahMos acquisition is a significant step in modernizing its military, it may be much less impactful than its military planners and local pundits hope and tout.


Asia Times

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