Why The Indian Navy Is Buying BrahMos-Equipped Mobile Coastal Batteries

Swarajya Staff

Mar 31, 2023, 02:42 PM | Updated 05:47 PM IST

Brahmos WPN System passes through the Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade-2018, in New Delhi on January 23, 2018. (PIB)
Brahmos WPN System passes through the Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade-2018, in New Delhi on January 23, 2018. (PIB)

On 30 March (Thursday), the Ministry of Defence signed a deal for the procurement of Next Generation Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries (Long Range) NGMMCB (LR) equipped with BrahMos missiles.

These mobile coastal batteries, equipped with anti-ship cruise missiles, will provide stand-off precision strike capabilities against surface vessels and serve as a potent deterrent against potential naval threats.

One of the primary advantages of these coastal batteries is their stand-off precision strike capabilities. Unlike traditional coastal defenses that rely on fixed emplacements and gun batteries, these mobile systems can be deployed in strategic locations along the coast, providing effective and highly accurate stand-off strikes against incoming naval threats.

This is especially important in modern naval warfare, where the ability to strike from a safe distance can make all the difference in determining the outcome of a conflict. In 2022, two ground-launched Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles sunk the Russian Navy cruiser, the Moskva, in the Black Sea, using intelligence shared by the US.

Another key advantage of mobile coastal batteries is their ability to raise the potential costs of a naval power attempting to get within striking range of the country's territory. By deploying these batteries in strategic locations along the coast, naval powers can effectively create a 'no-go' zone, making it extremely difficult for enemy ships to approach without facing the risk of devastating missile strikes. This can significantly reduce the likelihood of an enemy force attempting an offensive operation along the coast.

In the Indian context, the recent purchase of BrahMos-equipped long-range Next Generation Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries by the Navy is a significant step towards enhancing India's coastal defense capabilities. These batteries can help protect India's coastlines from potential threats and raise the stakes for any potential aggressor.

For example, during the 1965 war, the Pakistan Navy attacked the town of Dwarka on the coast of Gujarat and attempted to target important military installations, including the radar located in the town. The deployment of coastal batteries would make such attacks difficult.

In the future, BrahMos-equipped coastal batteries could be deployed on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In the event of a conflict with China, these batteries could pose a significant threat to Chinese shipping and surface naval vessels moving across the Malacca Strait.

It's worth noting that the BrahMos missiles being sold to the Philippines will also be used for coastal defense batteries in that country.

The use of such systems is not limited to India, with Russia's K-300P Bastion-P system being another example of a highly effective mobile coastal battery that uses P-800 Oniks anti-ship cruise missiles.

Interestingly, the BrahMos, which will equip the Indian coastal batteries, is a derivative of the Russian-made P-800 Oniks.

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