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SOURCE:  ABHOY ROY / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

IAF’s Sukhoi and Jaguar fighter aircraft, equipped with the potent Brahmos and Harpoon anti-ship missiles, showcased their strategic depth and capabilities to carry out any sort of operations over an entire extended area of the Indian Ocean region recently in Gagan Shakti 2018.

Chinese Navy which has been trying to expand its influence in critical sea lanes around India might have watched India’s seaboard aerial drills were careful because it has a subtle message to the Chinese that any “misadventure” by any adversary will be dealt with strong force and India will continue to keep its Air dominance over the entire extended area of the Indian Ocean region.

Fleet if 40 Sukhoi jets will undergo structural modifications at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for integration of the missile on them and the BrahMos missile will be the heaviest and also deadliest Anti-Ship Cruise Missile to be deployed from Air which can cripple even most Advanced and Superior Naval Fleet.

BrahMos always has been main Anti-Ship Cruise Missile of all Frontline Indian Warships but the advantage of an air-launched variant is that a knock-out punch can be delivered far quicker to a target at sea since it takes longer time for slow mover platforms like warships to be positioned towards the target.

Fast moving Sukhoi-30 can travel 1500km without In-flight Refueling and over 2200km with flight Refueling towards a target before it fires a BrahMos ALCM 800km away from the target without having to risk getting Radar locked by any Air-Defence missiles onboard warships.

Sukhoi-30 range alone allows India to target all critical sea lanes around India which could be used to send a large fleet of Naval fleet in case of war with India. Supersonic BrahMos ALCM with its pure Kinetic energy and a heavy warhead specially designed to pierce warship grade steel can sink any warship and a salvo of BrahMos can even take down an Aircraft Carrier without much effort.

Mach 3 Speed and last mile evasive S-maneuver ensures that even the most advanced of the Close in Air Support System installed onboard any warship can’t intercept BrahMos once fired at a target. limitation of limited 40 BrahMos capable Sukhoi-30 can be dangerous but India and Russia are working on Smaller and lighter BrahMos-NG which will be able to be carried by Naval Mig-29K and all other aircraft from Indian Air Force including upcoming Tejas MK-2.

Indian Ocean region has enough choke points and facilities at Andaman Nicobar islands in eastern seaboard gives India strategic reach right up to the Malacca Straits. Multiple security pacts with the countries in the region ensure that each Chinese warships entering and existing this region is well monitored and well tracked and even if China deploys a dedicated Indian ocean fleet in the region, messing with India over the sea will be suicidal.

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