Thursday, June 13, 2024

BrahMos In The Indian Navy’s Arsenal: An Exclusive Interview With ACNS (SR), RAdm. AD Nair

By Vijay Grover

The Indian Navy has been boosting the nation’s defence industrial base (DIB) as a flagship service, with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile being a highlight in its maritime arsenal. Rear Admiral Arjun Dev Nair, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Staff Requirements), discusses the potent indigenous missile system from an end-user perspective in this exclusive interview with Indian Aerospace & Defence’s Editor Vijay Grover.

Q. Could you share a brief overview of the Indian Navy’s experience with the BrahMos Missile System?

Ans: Indian Navy was the first service to induct supersonic BrahMos Missiles in 2004. INS Rajput was the first ship to induct the system. Since then, BrahMos has been installed as the primary heavyweight Surface-to-Surface Missile (SSM) onboard major surface platforms of the Indian Navy, aligned with the Make in India initiative. These missiles can undertake Maritime Strike Operations, Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) Operations, Sea Denial (especially off choke points) and Seaward Defence. The performance of the BrahMos Missile system has been very good. It has provided the Indian Navy with extended reach and precision power for both high-seas missions and coastal defence.

Q. There has been a notable push for the indigenisation of the BrahMos Missile system. What is the progress in this direction?

Ans: Indigenous content of BrahMos Missile is steadily increasing, with the missile achieving more than 50% indigenous content as of date. Future variants are being progressed with 60% Indigenous Content. The missile booster has been indigenised, and trial firing with ‘Indigenous Seeker’ was successfully conducted from a Naval ship on March 23. This is in line with the Government of India’s initiative of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Q. Indian Navy is in the process of acquiring over 200 BrahMos supersonic missiles. What were the factors that led the Indian Navy to plan for the procurement of this quantity?

Ans: Procurement of BrahMos missiles is in accordance with the approved Annual Acquisition Plan of the Indian Navy and the induction of combat platforms.

Vertical Launch System for BrahMos on INS Trikand; File Photo

Q. The BrahMos missile uses the ‘fire and forget principle’ with supersonic speed and low radar signature. How do these features help the Indian Navy?

Ans: Most ‘Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles’ use the ‘fire and forget principle’. What makes BrahMos special is its supersonic speed at sea-skimming altitude increasing the level of difficulty of enemy air defence systems and increasing the probability of being hit for the same weight of attack.

Q. Indian Navy has recently contracted BrahMos-based ‘Next Generation Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries’. How will these help the Service?

Ans: Maritime Mobile Coastal Batteries (MMCBs) are critical for the offensive defence of our coast, sea denial, choke point control, defence of island territories, and to prevent enemy amphibious landings. These MMCBs provide rapid re-locatable, vehicle-mounted missile capability to Indian Navy, to deny ingress of surface threats from sea. 

Q. Several friendly foreign countries have expressed interest in the BrahMos Missile System. Do you envision this could potentially enhance defence cooperation?

Ans: Yes. The potential export of BrahMos to friendly foreign countries will promote defence cooperation and a shared security architecture.

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