January 10th...One of my favorite sources on Russian military stuff it "Operational Environment" published by the US Army's Foreign Studies Office at Leavenworth.   In a pattern they follow, the December issue reproduced a Russian piece on coastal defense systems (extract copied below), and along side this piece provided a commentary (full commentary copied below).

The conclusion about increasing Russian anti-access capabilities is important. 

  • I was also struck by the fact that this is not really a coastal capability but one that can operate deep inside air defense coverage.
  • The Bastion-P is mobile, an obvious complication for targeting.
  • Depending on how the Russians deploy this capability, it could mean afloat reinforcements and logistics would have to come into Hamburg until they systems are destroyed.

This is is a good bench mark because the pieces in the publication are written by individuals who have access to classified information. 



Yuriy Avdeyev, “Navy Coastal Troops’

Acquisition of New Missile Systems Continues,”

Krasnaya Zvezda Online, 02 November 2015, <http://redstar.ru/index.php/newspaper/item/26387-vystrelil-zabyl>, accessed 15 November 2015.


The Defense Ministry intends before 2021 to have fully re-equipped coastal missile units with modern arms. General of the Army Sergey Shoygu, defense minister, announced on a recent conference call that the Navy would be getting two Bastion coastal missile systems before the end of 2015, five more will be delivered in 2016. Subsequently the fleets will be getting up to five systems annually.

OE Watch | December 2015

“Bastion” Coastal Defense System Increases Area Denial Capabilities

OE Watch Commentary:

Russia has put a high priority on area denial technologies, especially in the areas of electronic warfare, air defense, and tactical-operational (surface-to-surface) missiles. It is currently fielding several tactical-operational missile systems, including the “Iskander” surface-to-surface missile system, the “Bal” coastal missile defense systeme, and, as the accompanying excerpted article discusses, the “Bastion” coastal missile defense system. (For more information on the differences between these systems see June OE Watch “Russia Puts US Navy on Notice with Improved ‘Shipping Container’ Missile”, OEW, June 2015.)The “Bastion” coastal missile defense system was developed by the Machine-Building Science and Production Association for the 3M55 Onyx missile (export designation Yakhont, NATO classification SS-N-26 Strobile).


The Onyx is Russia’s latest anti-ship missile, which has a range of approximately 300 km. The Bastion comes in two variants: the fixed-position“Bastion-S”, and the mobile “Bastion-P.” The Bastion-P comprises four mobile launchers (two missiles per launcher), a command vehicle, and loader/transporter vehicles; vehicles mounted with the “Monolit-B” radars may also be employed to enhance targeting. The Bastion mobile coastal missile system is armed with the Onyx (Yakhont for exported systems) supersonic homing anti-ship missiles developed to destroy surface ships of all classes, particularly vessels comprising surface strike groups, carrier battle groups, amphibious assault forces, and convoys.


The complex can be situated up to 200 km inland, and is capable of protecting a stretch of coastline measuring in excess of 600 km against potential enemy amphibious landing operations. The manufacturer purports the time between receipt of a call for fire mission and full deployment of the system is five minutes, and that the system can remain in firing position 72-120 hours, depending on available fuel reserves. The Onyx/Yakhont anti-ship missile is stored inside a hermetically sealed transport and launch container. It is fully combat ready when it leaves the manufacturing plant and is stored, transported, and mounted on the launcher inside this container. The missile’s diagnostics can be monitored without opening the container. It uses a ramjet engine with a solid-propellant booster, allowing the missile to reach a cruise velocity of Mach 2.0-3.5 at an altitude of up to 20,000 meters.


One of the Onyx missile’s most interesting characteristics is its guidance system. The guidance system can purportedly work in tandem with other missiles, and can allocate and classify targets based on their importance and then select an appropriate attack scheme. Following the destruction of the primary target the remaining missiles attack other ships, so no target is attacked by more than one missile. After an initial target lock is achieved, the Onyx shuts down its radar and descends to a low altitude (5 to 10 meters), below the operational level of most air defense radars. Once the missile emerges from beneath the radio horizon, the radar is reactivated and locks back on to the target. This feature, in conjunction with the Onyx’s high rate of speed, greatly complicates adversarial air defense and electronic warfare countermeasures.

End OE Watch Commentary