In a move that is bound to upset Japan, the Russian military has deployed its Bastion missile system for the first time on the Kuril island chain in the Pacific, Reuters reported. A video confirming the deployment was also shared by the YouTube channel of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The Kuril Islands are a volcanic archipelago about 715 miles (1,150 km) long between the provinces of Hokkaido in Japan and Kamchatka in Russia in northeast Asia. Reuters reported that the 56-island group has been a disputed territory between the two countries since World War II after Russia seized them from Japan. The two countries had resumed talks to resolve the dispute in 2018, according to an FT report.
Earlier in August this year, however, Russia confirmed that it has constructed 30 buildings that included living quarters on Iturup and Kunashir islands that Japan calls its Northern Territories. In a move that will upset Japan further, Russia has now landed its sophisticated missile systems on these islands.
The Bastion-P, also called K-300P is a designated coastal defense system. A battery of this portable system that has been in Russian service since 2010, consists of four mobile launchers, a command, and control vehicle, a support vehicle, and four transloaders, Military Today reports. The launchers can be placed as far as 15 miles (25 km) from the command vehicles or can even be operated remotely.
With combat duty support, the launcher vehicles can remain on active standby for up to 30 days. When moved to a new location, the vehicle can fire at a target within five minutes using its vertical launcher while also offering the option to dispense both missiles within an interval of five seconds.
The Bastion-P uses P-800 Oniks/Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles that have a range of up to 186 miles (300 km). The two-stage missile uses a solid fuel booster for initial acceleration that it ejects after burnout and switches to a liquid-fuel ramjet in its second stage to achieve supersonic speeds.
The missile uses satellite guidance for its first stage and an active radar as it approaches its target. With capabilities to skim above the sea surface, it approaches its target at minimum altitudes while also retaining maneuvering abilities even at supersonic speeds. The missile can carry conventional or nuclear warheads up to 550 pounds (250 kg) and can also be used against land-based targets if needed.