Philippines to acquire supersonic missiles from India

The Philippines is set to acquire the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile from India, with the deal expected to be signed early next year. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 18 December 2019

Philippines to acquire supersonic missiles from India

  • BrahMos weapon is fastest in the world and can be launched from submarines, ships or land

MANILA: The Philippines is set to acquire the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile from India, with the deal expected to be signed early next year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday night.

Lorenzana said that the procurement would be made through “government-to-government mode” with the signing of the contract to take place “possibly in the first or second quarter” of 2020.

The Indian-made, medium-range, ramjet supersonic BrahMos cruise missile is considered the fastest in the world and can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land.

Once delivered, the missiles will be the first Philippine weapons to boost much-needed deterrent capabilities. Initially, the Philippines will acquire “two batteries” to jump-start its armed forces’ efforts to build its deterrent capacity in the face of the country’s current territorial challenges.

A missile battery is equivalent to three mobile autonomous launchers with two or three missile tubes each.

According to the BrahMos Aerospace website: “The missile has a flight range of up to 290 km with supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system in the world.”

“Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters. It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kgs,” it said.

Compared to the existing state-of-the-art subsonic cruise missiles, the BrahMos has “3 times more velocity, 2.5 to 3 times more flight range, 3 to 4 times more seeker range, and 9 times more kinetic energy.”

In October, the Philippine Army said that it was interested in acquiring the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. This was after army officials visited the Indian Navy’s “Shivalik”-class guided missile frigate, INS Sahyadri (F-49), to learn more about its missile capabilities, which includes the BrahMos cruise missile.

During the same month, the army also activated its first land-based missile battery system, which is under the supervision of its artillery regiment.

Lorenzana said that aside from the army, the weapons can also be operated by the Philippine Air Force (PAF), which is already using FA-50 fighter jets.

Earlier, the defense chief had said that “there is money” for the procurement of the BrahMos missiles as per the Philippine military’s modernization program.

The acquisition of a land-based missile system is under Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program, which is slated for 2018 to 2022 and geared for the acquisition of equipment for external defense with a budget of 300 billion pesos.


Study finds AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic instructions

Updated 38 min 52 sec ago

Study finds AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic instructions

  • Bristol University virology expert David Matthews: The vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness
  • AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, is seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine to protect against COVID-19

LONDON: AstraZeneca’s Oxford COVID-19 vaccine accurately follows the genetic instructions programmed into it by its developers to successfully provoke a strong immune response, according to a detailed analysis carried out by independent UK scientists.
“The vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness,” said David Matthews, an expert in virology from Bristol University, who led the research.
AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, is seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
The first data from late-stage large-scale clinical trials being conducted in several countries around the world, including Brazil, the United States and Britain, are expected to be released before the end of the year.
The vaccine — known either as ChAdOx1 or AZD1222 — is made by taking a common cold virus called an adenovirus from chimpanzees and deleting about 20% of the virus’s instructions. This means it is impossible for the vaccine to replicate or cause disease in humans.
The Bristol researchers’ focus was to assess how often and how accurately the vaccine is copying and using the genetic instructions programmed into it by its designers. These instructions detail how to make the spike protein from the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
Once the spike protein is made, the immune system reacts to it, training the immune system to identify a real COVID-19 infection.
“This is an important study as we are able to confirm that the genetic instructions underpinning this vaccine ... are correctly followed when they get into a human cell,” Matthews said in a statement about the work.
His team’s research was not peer reviewed by other scientists, but was published as a preprint before review.