3K55 Bastion coastal defense mobile anti-ship missile systems (NATO reporting name: SSC-5 Stooge) of the Russian Pacific Fleet’s missile and artillery brigade. The launch took place on July 22, 2016 in the Far East Primorsky Territory. Picture: Russian Pacific Fleet press service
According to NPOMash, a Bastion battalion includes eight launchers on the MZKT-7930 high-mobility chassis. Each launcher carries two Oniks (SS-N-26 Strobile) supersonic missiles ready for launch on warning. There also are launcher-loaders with reloads.
According to the Tactical Missiles Corporation’s website, the table of organization and equipment of the Bal battalion resembled that of the Bastion battalion much. However, each Bal launcher has eight missiles for the enemy, rather than two.
Expert Dmitry Boltenkov reminds that coastal defense missile battalions were stationed on the Kurils in Soviet times.
"Units equipped with the Redut [SS-C-1 Sepal] and Rubezh [SS-C-3 Styx] antiship systems were stationed on the Kuril Islands in the 1980s," Boltenkov says, "specifically at Simushir and Iturup. However, they were withdrawn from the islands and disbanded in the earlier 1990s."
According to former Russian Ambassador to Japan Alexander Panov, Russia’s reinforcement of its Kurils-based forces is a signal of its resolution to retain the southern Kurils, presumably.
"Most probably, the Japanese will turn the blind eye to the Russian Federation’s steps, because there have been positive dynamics in the bilateral relations," the diplomat says. "No one needs a row. It is possible, however, that they will ask for an explanation of the military build-up via the diplomatic channels. Tokyo is quite content with the status quo."
Panov stressed that the dynamics of the Russian-Japanese relations have been very positive.
"Premier Abe has a good strategic view and realizes that Japan should become more independent and needs close partnership with the Russian Federation for this purpose," the expert tells the Izvestia daily. "This will allow offsetting the growing influence of China and ensure an economic growth through cooperation with the Russian Far East."
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