Russia Tests Bastion Coastal Defence Missile System in Arctic
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Russia Tests Bastion Coastal Defence Missile System in Arctic

By IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: Russia fires an Onyx supersonic missile from Bastion coastal defense missile complex in the Arctic for the first time © Russia's Ministry of Defense

On September 26, 2018, a video was released by Russia's Ministry of Defence (MoD) showed multiple launches of supersonic anti-ship Oniks SS-N-26 ‘Strobile’ missiles. The ministry said the launches were part of tactical drills by the North Navy Fleet at Russia's Arctic island of Kotelny, in eastern Siberia. Previously, Russia has deployed Rubezh coastal defense systems in the same area.

"The coastal missile complex Bastion successfully conducted the missile shooting on targets […], which shows its readiness to efficiently guard the Arctic and engage in protection of the Russian archipelagos and coastal zone," Northern Fleet Head Commander Nikolay Semenov says in a comment. Also, he told Interfax the missiles system had been delivered to a base on Kotelny Island via the sea route, to take part in the drills.

The released footage showed an Oniks missile, which can travel at speeds of up to 1,700 mph (2,700 kph), shooting up in the air and then gliding above the sea towards a mock target designed to simulate a group of hostile ships at a distance of 37 miles (60 km) offshore, in the Laptev Sea.

Image Attribute: Oniks SS-N-26 ‘Strobile’ missile

Image Attribute: Oniks SS-N-26 ‘Strobile’ missile

The main role of the Bastion-P is to engage surface ships including carrier battle groups, convoys, and landing craft. A typical battery is composed of 1-2 command and control vehicles based on the Kamaz 43101 6×6 truck, one support vehicle, four launcher vehicles based on the MZKT-7930 8×8 chassis each operated by a 3-man crew and holding two missiles, and four loader vehicles; launcher vehicles can be located up to16 mi (25 km) away from the C2 vehicles. 

Upon halting, missiles can be readied for firing within five minutes, and both can be fired in 2 to 5-second intervals. The mobile launcher can remain on active standby over a period of 3–5 days, or up to 30 days when accompanied by a combat duty support vehicle. Bastion was adopted by the Russian military in 2010 and have since been used in combat in Syria.

The missile deployment comes just days ahead of the expected arrival in the port city of St. Petersburg of the Venta Maersk, a specially strengthened vessel that is the world’s first container ship to venture into the Russian Arctic. The maiden voyage of the Russian ship is reported to be a test run to determine the feasibility of Northern Sea Route (NSR) as a shipping route — and a sign of increased interest in the Arctic.

Palle Laursen, Maersk's chief technical officer, says "the trial allowed us to gain exceptional operational experience," adding the Venta Maersk and all systems aboard performed well in the unfamiliar environment.

The NSR could be a shorter route for journeys from East Asia to Europe than the Northwest Passage over Canada because it will likely be free of ice sooner due to climate change.

With reporting by Epoch Times, Interfax, and Reuters