Russian Navy deploys new coastal missile brigade equipped with Bal and Bastion missile systems

According to information published by the Russian press agency TASS on January 14, 2021, a new coastal missile brigade of the Russian Navy will be deployed in the Far East to defend Sakhalin. Together with already available missile-artillery forces, it will fully defend the Pacific coast against amphibious assault and warships with cruise missiles, the Izvestia daily writes.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001Russian-made Bal coastal defense missile system during live-firing exercise. (Picture source Russian MoD)

The creation of the new unit was announced by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. However, he did not disclose the operational direction of the new brigade. Defense Ministry sources said it will be deployed in Sakhalin. Servicemen and civilian personnel are being contracted. The brigade will include battalions of coastal Bal and Bastion missile complexes.

“In Soviet time, the Far East had a total line of defense. Costal units protected all approaches to the Russian coast,” expert Dmitry Boltenkov said.

“The defense was ruined in 1990s and its restoration began several years ago. Missile brigades are operating in Kamchatka and Primorye. The system will be completed by the formation in Sakhalin,” he said.

Coastal missile complexes pose a major threat to warships, former Navy Chief-of-Staff Admiral Valentin Selivanov said. “When I was chief-of-staff of the Black Sea fleet, our complexes could fire up to Bosporus. The adversary could sail the strait and immediately come under fire. The brigade is good for defense. It will be mobile on wheeled vehicles and will maneuver, camouflage, and change positions. All hostile targets will be precisely destroyed at approaches to Kuriles and Sakhalin. Aviation and other reconnaissance, including space means, will provide guidance,” he said. The brigade will have enough firepower to destroy 10-20 warships.

Russia has been reinforcing coastal missile-artillery units of late. The outdated Redut and Rubezh systems are replaced by Bastion and Bal. Modern battalions are formed and missile regiments develop into brigades.

The reinforcement of coastal missile-artillery forces began in 2015. The brigades used to have two battalions — one with Rubezh and another with Redut. The structure has been expanded now.

Massive supplies of Bal and Bastion began in 2015. The 72nd coastal missile brigade of the Pacific fleet in Primorye was the first to receive them. Since November 2017, a Bastion battery has been deployed in Iturup and Bal in Kunashir. The units rotate on the islands.

The 520th brigade in Kamchatka has several battalions rearmed with the latest missile complexes. The formation is in charge of Kamchatka and Chukotka coast. The central Pacific coast has not had proper defense for a long time.

Bastion is armed with Onyx anti-ship missiles with a range of 600 km. Guidance is provided by airplanes and helicopters, warships and submarines united into a single information contour. The coastal weapons can destroy single warships, landing formations, convoys and aircraft-carrying groups. The radar homing warhead of Bastion can also destroy ground targets.

Bal coastal defense missile system protects the coast and straits, as well as naval bases. It can fire single missiles and a salvo of 32 missiles. The recharging takes 30-40 minutes and the weapon is ready to fire again, the Izvestia said.

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