The Philippine Marine Corps has formed a new battalion for its newly-acquired missile assets. Photo shows the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile systems from India. (Photo: PMC)
MANILA — With the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) forming a new battalion to operate its upcoming BrahMos supersonic cruise missile systems, PROMDI presidential candidate Se. Manny Pacquiao lauded the initiative, saying this would enhance the defense capabilities of the Philippine military, especially with the ongoing threat of more incursions by foreign vessels, particularly the People’s Liberation Army Navy and Coast Guard that has been seen patrolling inside the country’s territorial waters.
The BrahMos missile systems is considered the fastest worldwide with a range of over 400 kilometers and speed ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.0 and with its application, the Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile (SBASM) Battalion of the Coastal Defense Regiment has been activated on April 3.
“The SBASM Battalion, the first in the PMC, will be operating one of the best anti-ship missile systems on the planet. It can quickly detect, track, chase and destroy targets,” the PMC proudly announced.
According to Pacquiao, modernization of the Philippine military will be one of the priorities he will focus on if he is fortunate to be elected in the upcoming elections on May 9 and as the country’s commander-in-chief, he would most certainly initiate reforms and programs that would enhance the capabilities of all the branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as the Philippine National Police that is tasked with the country’s internal security.
“Hindi natin puwedeng ikatuwiran na wala tayong kakayahan sa pagdepensa sa ating soberenidad dahil maliit lang tayong bansa at may mga kakulangan sa ating militar. Dapat gawin natin ang lahat ng abot nating makakaya para mapalakas natin ang ating militar,” the People’s Champ pointed out.
Pacquiao said he was thankful for the acquisition of the modern missile system and also other advanced military equipment, saying that modernizing our military is the most effective way for us to defend and uphold our sovereign integrity.
Just recently, the Philippines took delivery of two T-129 ATAK helicopters from Turkey in early March before they were formally inducted to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) inventory along with an Airbus C-295 tactical transport aircraft at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City last Wednesday.
Turkish Defense Industries Directorate president Ismail Demir disclosed that four other choppers will be delivered within the year.
The PhP13.7-billion transaction was signed between the Department of National Defense (DND) and Turkish Aerospace Industries under a government-to-government deal in late 2020.
The T-129 ATAK helicopter was selected by the PAF for its attack helicopter acquisition program in 2018, beating other contenders that included Boeing’s AH-64E Apache and Bell’s AH-1Z Viper. But the deal was finalized only in late 2020 apparently due to the PAF and DND’s US export license concerns.
The Philippines is the first overseas user of the T-129 ATAK, a two-seat, twin-engine helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform and designed for attack and reconnaissance missions.
The choppers will be flown by the PAF’s 15th Strike Wing, along with Bell AH-1S Huey Cobra attack helicopters, AW-109E and MD-520MG choppers. (ai/mtvn)