The contract for supersonic missiles co-developed with Russia was signed by the two Asian nations in 2022 A soldier salutes from a Brahmos Weapon system as they march along Rajpath during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2021. © Jewel SAMAD / AFP

India delivered the first batch of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines on Friday, the ANI news agency has reported. A $375 million deal to supply the systems co-developed by New Delhi and Moscow was signed in 2022, as India looks to become an exporter of defense technology.

The Indian Air Force used C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft to deliver the BrahMos missiles to the Philippines, the report noted, citing defense sources.

BrahMos signed a $375 million deal with the Philippines to deliver the high-capability missiles in 2022. Samir Kamat, chief of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), told ANI last week that the missiles are “getting a lot of interest” from potential buyers. Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia are reportedly among those to be keen on acquiring the missiles.

Speaking at the World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia in February, BrahMos director of exports Praveen Pathak said the Indian-Russian joint venture is also in talks with Saudi Arabia, while its order portfolio has already reached $7 billion, encompassing domestic and international deals.

The Indian government has increased its annual target for defense and aerospace production to $36 billion, while raising the export target to $6 billion. Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh stated earlier this year that the country aims to increase its production of jet engines and gas turbines to reach the new goal. “Earlier, India was known to be an arms importer. But today, under the leadership of the prime minister, we have come out of our comfort zone and found a place in the list of top 25 arms-exporting nations,” Singh asserted.

India’s defense exports last financial year crossed $2.6 billion – a 30-fold rise compared to 2013-14 fiscal.

Named after the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers, the BrahMos missile is the result of collaboration between DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya. Widely deployed by the Indian military, the versatile missile system can engage sea-based and surface targets across air, sea, and sub-sea platforms. The powerful long-range supersonic cruise missile system can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or from land. The missiles originally had a range of 290km (180 miles), but have been extended to between 450 and 500km through upgrades.

Earlier this month, the Indian Army test-fired a long-range BrahMos cruise missile. The “calculated strike” hit its mark with precision, the army added, describing the test as “a poignant reminder of India’s steadfast dedication to defending its sovereignty and fostering regional stability.”

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