Secret nuclear submarine base under Project NAOB will be ready soon
Vice-Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, has provided confirmation that the highly anticipated Naval Alternative Operations Base (NAOB) project located in Rambilli, Anakapalle district, is progressing as planned and is expected to be operational by mid-2024. The program, which was granted approval by the Modi Government in 2018, represents a noteworthy achievement in India’s efforts to enhance its marine defense capabilities.
The major aim of the NAOB project is to enhance the infrastructure for future nuclear-powered vessels of the Indian Navy, encompassing the development of recharge stations and technical support areas. The proposed station will be situated at Rambilli, within the Anakapalle district, with the intention of strategically augmenting India’s naval capacities and protecting its marine concerns.
Open-source satellite photographs give a glimpse of the significant advancements made during the project’s initial phase. With the excavation of more than twelve tunnels now completed, the subterranean complex is gradually materializing, positioning itself to assume a pivotal role in the nation’s naval defense infrastructure.
The NAOB, referred to as “Varsha,” will benefit from its close proximity to the renowned Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) facility. The close vicinity of the location will offer advanced nuclear engineering assistance and sufficient housing for the individuals engaged in the project. The purpose of the facility is to enhance India’s deterrence capabilities and strengthen its presence in the Indian Ocean region by complementing its current fleet of 8-12 nuclear-powered ballistic missiles and assault submarines.
The NAOB is outfitted with subaquatic enclosures designed to protect submarines from aerial attacks by adversaries and to avoid detection by surveillance satellites, thereby safeguarding operational confidentiality and bolstering the navy’s capacity for covert operations as necessary. The facility is actively pursuing international technical assistance in order to uphold the utmost levels of nuclear safety measures, which serves as evidence of India’s dedication to following to the most exemplary protocols in its nuclear pursuits.
The NAOB, although primarily intended for the purpose of accommodating nuclear submarines, is developed with a focus on adaptability. The facility has the capacity to handle supplementary naval vessels, in accordance with the Indian Navy’s ongoing expansion strategies. As India strengthens its position as a prominent naval power in the international arena, the NAOB project gains enhanced importance, showcasing the nation’s dedication to the modernization of its naval resources and adoption of advanced technologies.
The imminent inauguration of the NAOB is much anticipated by both defense enthusiasts and experts. It represents India’s unyielding commitment to enhancing its marine defense capabilities and safeguarding its national interests. The project serves as a demonstration of India’s expertise in naval engineering and infrastructure development, thereby supporting the country’s efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in defense technologies.
As the imminent mid-2024 deadline draws near, the Indian Navy and relevant stakeholders engaged in the NAOB project are diligently striving to guarantee its successful completion. The establishment of this advanced facility will signify the commencement of an innovative era in India’s maritime defense, enhancing the nation’s standing as an influential player in the Indian Ocean area and emphasizing its dedication to protecting its territorial seas and marine concerns.
By – Rajesh Singla, New Delhi