Why India needs a dedicated defence export department

By India Today

On January 14, the Philippines government announced it was purchasing BrahMos cruise missiles from India. The choice of both the missile and the platform the selection was announced on, turned some heads.

In a Facebook post, Philippines’ Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that his country was acquiring three batteries of the ground-launched cruise missiles for $374.96 million (Rs 27,968 crore). BrahMos Aerospace Ltd, an Indo-Russian joint venture which makes the missiles, won the contract after a five-year evaluation process. The BrahMos was pitted against rival Israeli and Ukrainian missiles.

The BrahMos (a portmanteau of the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers) is a variant of Russia’s Yakhont supersonic anti-ship missile. It has ground-launched, air-launched, sea- and underwater-launched versions and has been in service with the Indian armed forces for over 20 years.

BrahMos Aerospace has pitched the missile to potential buyers in Brazil, UAE, South Africa, Malaysia, Chile and Indonesia for over a decade without success. The Philippines deal, defence officials say, not just brightens the BrahMos’ export potential with other clients, but also for an identical order for the Philippines army worth over $300 million.

Each coastal defence missile battery has six vehicles—three missile launch trucks each with two missiles, one missile loading truck, an Over the Horizon Radar and a command-and-control centre.

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