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Vice-Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, has confirmed that the eagerly awaited Naval Alternative Operations Base (NAOB) project at Rambilli in Anakapalle district is on track for commissioning by mid-2024. This groundbreaking initiative, which received clearance from the Modi Government in 2018, marks a significant milestone in India’s quest to strengthen its maritime defence capabilities.

The NAOB project’s primary objective is to expand facilities for future nuclear-powered vessels of the Indian Navy, including recharge stations and technical support areas. The base will be located at Rambilli in the Anakapalle district, strategically positioned to enhance India’s naval capabilities and safeguard its maritime interests.

Open-source satellite images offer a glimpse of the substantial progress achieved during the first phase of the project. With over a dozen tunnels already excavated, the underground facility is taking shape, poised to become a critical asset in the country’s naval defence infrastructure.
Named “Varsha,” the NAOB will have the advantage of being in proximity to the prestigious Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) facility. This proximity will provide sophisticated nuclear engineering support and ample accommodation for the personnel involved in the project. The base is designed to complement India’s existing fleet of 8-12 nuclear-powered ballistic missiles and assault submarines, augmenting the country’s deterrence capabilities and reinforcing its position in the Indian Ocean region.

The NAOB is equipped with underwater enclosures to shield the submarines from enemy air strikes and evade detection by spy satellites, ensuring operational security and enhancing the navy’s ability to operate clandestinely when required. The base is seeking international technical support to ensure the highest standards of nuclear safety features, a testament to India’s commitment to adhering to the best practices in its nuclear endeavours.

While constructed primarily to host nuclear submarines, the NAOB is designed with versatility in mind. It can accommodate additional naval vessels, aligning with the Indian Navy’s ongoing expansion plans. As India solidifies its position as a formidable naval force on the global stage, the NAOB project assumes even greater significance, demonstrating the country’s commitment to modernizing its naval assets and embracing cutting-edge technology.

The forthcoming commissioning of the NAOB is eagerly awaited by defence enthusiasts and experts alike. It symbolizes India’s unwavering determination to enhance its maritime defence capabilities and protect its national interests. The project showcases India’s prowess in naval engineering and infrastructure development, contributing to the nation’s pursuit of self-reliance in defence technologies.

As the mid-2024 deadline approaches, the Indian Navy and stakeholders involved in the NAOB project are steadfastly working to ensure its successful completion. The commissioning of this state-of-the-art base will herald a new era of maritime defence for India, elevating the country’s status as a key player in the Indian Ocean region and underscoring its commitment to safeguarding its territorial waters and maritime interests.

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