A fundamental decision was made to deploy the newest Bal onshore complexes in the Arctic, which will be deployed along the entire Northern Sea Route. Together with the Bastion systems previously deployed in the Arctic, they will take control of almost the entire coastal zone in the Arctic. According to experts, with the development of a powerful defense, maritime navigation in the region will become much safer.
At 80 degrees north latitude
Sources in the military department told Izvestia that at present the principal decision on the deployment of the Bal coastal missile systems (DBK) has been made. The first systems have already taken up combat duty in Franz Josef Land. In the future, units of the coastal missile forces will be deployed in other regions.
At the end of last year, the head of the Ministry of Defense Sergei Shoigu at the final board said that the number of ballistic missile systems “Ball” and “Bastion” the country’s Armed Forces reached 74% of the need. He also noted that the department is systematically developing infrastructure in the Arctic. “On the island of Alexandra Land, we have completed the construction of a military base. It is the only object in the world at 80 degrees north latitude. In total, it has 334 buildings and structures. The runway at the Nagurskaya airfield has been increased to 3.5 km, ”the minister said.
DBK “Ball” was adopted in 2008. It is designed to protect the coast and straits, as well as cover for naval bases. It has the ability to fire both single missiles and salvoes of up to 32 subsonic missiles. After reloading (takes 30–40 minutes), the complex is ready to fire a second salvo. DBK is a mobile system based on the MZKT-7930 chassis. It includes up to two self-propelled command posts, up to four launchers with eight Kh-35 / Kh-35U cruise missiles, as well as transport and reloading vehicles.
The range of the DBK is over 120 km. The complex is equipped with night vision devices and modern equipment. Thanks to the state-of-the-art navigation system, the Ball can quickly change starting positions. Deployment time is only 10 minutes.
“This is the next stage in the deployment of our Arctic grouping,” military expert Viktor Murakhovsky told Izvestia. – It provides not only for illumination of the air, surface and underwater situation, but also the placement of fire weapons. Obviously, we are not going to use them in international waters, but our territorial waters must be reliably protected, including by such powerful complexes as the Bal. The Northern Sea Route passes through international and territorial waters. And we will not allow anyone to freely enter our territory, especially warships. There are corresponding rules for civil courts, they can, when registering, pass in certain cases to the territorial waters. But the penetration of warships, and even more so in the event of military conflicts, will be prohibited, this is 100%.
Protection of the economy
On the Arctic islands, the Ministry of Defense creates tactical groups, which include units for providing airfields and their protection, noted military historian Dmitry Boltenkov.
“In addition, additional coastal forces are being deployed there. Because of the melting ice, more space is formed where ships can go, ”he explained. – And Russia recently submitted an application to the UN to expand the economic zone. DBK is another means of protecting our activities in the Arctic Ocean. If foreigners go there, they will know that they are being watched not only from aircraft, but also from the shore.
Bali are not the first complexes located along the Northern Sea Route (NSR). In 2018, the Bastion battery was deployed on Kotelny Island. Kotelny is the largest in the archipelago of the New Siberian Islands, located between the Laptev and East Siberian seas.
In addition, the Aerospace Forces were sent to protect the Northern Sea Route. At the island and mainland airfields in the Arctic Circle, MiG-31BM aircraft of the Northern Fleet’s aviation squadron will be on duty. If necessary, they can be quickly redeployed to any of more than a dozen repaired airfields along the NSR. All last year, experimental exercises on the action of aircraft along the NSR were held in the new Arctic squadron of the 98th separate mixed air regiment. The command recognized the results of the maneuvers as successful.
In recent years, Russia has been actively strengthening the coastal forces of the fleet and, in particular, the coastal missile and artillery troops. They are being rearmed from the outdated Redut and Rubezh complexes to the newest Bastion and Ball. In addition, modern divisions are being formed, and coastal missile regiments are being turned into full-fledged brigades.
Mass deliveries of new DBKs started in 2015. One of the first to receive them was the 72nd Coastal Missile Brigade of the Pacific Fleet. In November 2016, the Bastion battery from its composition was deployed to Iturup Island, and the Bal ballistic missile battery was deployed to Kunashir Island.
The decision to strengthen the land component of the fleet was not accidental. The history of Russia knows examples of the defense of naval bases from land strikes: such battles took place during the Crimean, Russian-Japanese and Great Patriotic Wars. According to Dmitry Boltenkov, this problem was most successfully solved in 1941-1942.
Then, under a single naval command, defensive areas were created – operational formations of fleets, ground forces and aviation to protect coastal regions. In particular, the defense of Odessa and the later evacuation of units of the Separate Maritime Army was recognized as one of the most successful operations for the defense of naval bases in modern history.
Roman Kretsul, Alexey Ramm