Bastion Coastal Missile System: Reliable Deterrence to Prevent Attack from Sea

Bastion Coastal Missile System: Reliable Deterrence to Prevent Attack from Sea

The military mission to prevent opposing forces from capturing a specific area is as old as warfare. The concept of anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) focuses on making a location off-limits to the enemy’s naval and aerial operations. Large naval vessels and fighter aircraft enjoy technological advancements, enhancing their impact on the battlespace. Shore-based anti-ship missile systems are the most effective weapons to counter the threat coming from sea.

The K-300P Bastion-P (NATO reporting name SS-C-5 Stooge) is a Russian mobile coastal defence missile system. The "P" letter in the designation denotes "mobile". The prime mission 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. The vehicles have good cross-country mobility and can operate over rough terrain. Launcher vehicles can be located up to 25 km (16 mi) away from the command and control vehicles. Upon halting, missiles can be readied for firing within five minutes, and both fired in 2-5 second intervals. The mobile launcher can remain on active standby over a period of 3-5 days, or up to 30 days once supported by a combat duty support vehicle.

The missile used by the Bastion-P is the P-800 Oniks (export version -Yakhont), a supersonic anti-ship missile with a 200–250 kg (440–550 lb) warhead. It has a two-stage propulsion system.

The Oniks uses solid-fuel rocket booster for initial acceleration and liquid-fuel ramjet for sustained supersonic cruise. The booster is ejected by the airflow after it has burned out.

The missile is fired vertically from the launchers using a solid-fuel rocket booster for initial acceleration, then it uses a liquid-fuel ramjet for sustained cruising at Mach 2.5. The maximum range varies at 120–300 km (75–186 mi; 65–162 nmi) utilizing a low-low or hi-low flight trajectory respectively. It is a fire-and-forget type missile. Using satellite guidance at the initial flight stage and active radar guidance when approaching a target, the Oniks can fly to an altitude of 14,000 m (46,000 ft) before descending to sea-skimming altitude of 5 m at the final stage, useful up to sea state 7. The missile can maneuver at supersonic speed before hitting the target. The great speed and skimming abilities complicate the efforts of close-in weapon systems to counter the threat.

The homing warhead is an onboard two-channel active/passive radar with a complex wide-band coherent signal with a phase-code manipulation in compliance with the random law both during surveillance and tracking in an active operation mode. It re-adjusts frequencies and time parameters. It is highly immune to various active countermeasures that affect the operating range and angle coordinates. Also, it is resistant to passive interference like dipole clouds and angular reflectors. It adapts to unfriendly environment and difficult operating conditions. The homing head is modular: antenna, transmitter, receiver, information processor, built-in self-check device.

The Bastion system relies on radar data for plotting the flight path of the 3M55 missile. The three types of radar systems that may be used are existing coastal radars, special targeting helicopters and mobile radar systems. The system that is most likely to be used with the Bastion is the vehicle mounted Monolit-B radar that has a passive range of 150 to 200 km and active range of 35 to 70 km.

Another advantage of the Onyx missile is that it can be used with various types of carriers, including submarines and surface vessels. Onyx will also be included in the weaponry of the Su-30MK family of fighters and the latest Su-34 frontline bombers. Russia’s new Admiral Gorshkov class frigates are expected to be armed with 16 Onyx. The Yasen class submarines recently test fired the Onyx missile, and they are expected to be equipped with 16-32 of these missiles. The Indian version, BrahMos, has an additional land attack capability and is also being integrated with the Su-30Mki. Still, the most important thing is that the next generation following the Onyx is already on its way. This is the Zircon — the first hypersonic combat missile system, which is due to start testing next year.

The Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet is to deploy the K-300P Bastion-P in the Kuril Islands, following live firing trials of the system at a training range in the Primorye Territory in July. The systems will be stationed there till the end of the year to protect naval bases and other strategic installations on the coast, defend coastline in probable landing approach areas and to establish control over strait zone and territorial waters in areas of high-risk assaults as well as for gaining overall dominance over the sea.

This defensive measure is undertaken in view of arms race emerging in the Asia Pacific region.

In February the Northern Fleet of the Russian Federation deployed two batteries of Bastion systems on the Kola Peninsula. The appearance of these weapons ensures the protection of 1,500 kilometers of the Russian coast from possible landing attacks and creates a 300-kilometer "dead zone" for NATO ships in the Barents Sea.

The Bastion was deployed on the Crimean coast in 2014. The weapon was unveiled to the public for the first time in a documentary by Andrei Kondrashov “Crimea. The Way Home.” In his comments Russian President Vladimir Putin proudly stated: "No one else has this weapon." According to him, the Bastion stopped NATO from deploying its warships in the Black Sea.

The export versions of the system have been delivered to Syria and Vietnam.

The deployment of the Bastion is a self-defense measure to keep away potential enemy’s platforms, including US aircraft carrier strike groups, from Russia’s shores. Deploying the sophisticated cutting edge system provides reliable deterrence to discourage a potential aggressor from attacking the country from seas. 

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