Russian Kh-35 Bal coastal missiles deployed in the Arctic
The Russian Defense Ministry has decided to deploy Kh-35 Bal coastal cruise missiles (NATO reporting name: AS-20 Kayak) in the Arctic, along the Northern Sea Route, The Izvestia reports.
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Kh-35 Bal coastal missile system on MZKT-7930 chassis (Picture source: Russian MoD)
The deployment has already begun. The first systems have been placed on Franz Josef Land and have already taken up combat duty. In the future, it is planned to deploy Bal missiles along the entire Northern Sea Route. According to the plans of the military, as Novosti reports, the Bal missile system, together with the Bastion systems previously deployed in the Arctic, will take control of almost the entire coastal zone.
Details of further deployment are not provided. Earlier it was reported that at the end of 2020, the needs of the Ministry of Defense for the supply of the Bal and Bastion coastal systems were closed by 74%.
The Zvezda Kh-35 (NATO reporting nam: AS-20 'Kayak') is a turbojet subsonic cruise anti-ship missile. The same missile can also be launched from helicopters, surface ships and coastal defence batteries with the help of a rocket booster, in which case it is known as Uran ('Uranus', SS-N-25 'Switchblade', GRAU 3M24) or Bal ('Ball', SSC-6 'Sennight', GRAU 3K60). It is designed to attack vessels up to 5,000 tonnes.
Kh-35 Bal coastal missile system transported on Kamaz 63501 chassis in July 2003 (Picture source : Wikipedia/Pliskin)
The Kh-35 missile entered service in 2003. In July 2003, the system created by the Tactical Missiles Corporation passed the state tests and began to come into service of ships of the Russian Navy. The Bal coastal missile system entered service in 2008. Uran-E has also been acquired by India.
A Bal system has four self-propelled launcher vehicles each carrying eight missiles for a total of 32 missiles in a salvo, plus reloads for another wave. The launchers can be up to 10 km from the coast and hit targets at ranges up to 120 km (75 mi; 65 nmi). Currently, the Bal system is equipped with an upgraded version of the Kh-35E increasing range to 300 km (190 mi; 160 nmi). At IMDS 2019, a new version of the Russian Bal-E coastal defence system was presented for the 1st time. The 4-tube Rubezh-ME, dedicated to the export market, is based on a Kamaz 63501 all-terrain 8x8 chassis which is more compact than the MZKT-7930.
Kh-35E Bal coastal missile system displayed at Maks-2009 (Picture source : Wikipedia/Allocer)