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Bastion missile systems to protect Russian naval base in Syria

Bastion missile systems to protect Russian naval base in Syria 21.09.2010
Text: RIA Novosti
Photo: MCMS Bastion. NPO Mashinostroyenia
Mobile coastal missile system (MCMS) Bastion with antiship missiles Yakhont in Syria's inventory will maintain security of Syrian coast and protect Russian naval base in Tartus, reported RIA Novosti citing Igor Korotchenko, director of the World Arms Trade Analytic Center (WATAC).

Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdiukov said on Sept 17 summarizing results of his visit to the U.S. that Russia would execute delivery contract tied with Syria for missile systems Yakhont which are designed for engagement of enemy's ships at the range up to 300 km. United States' anxiety that such systems could fall into terrorists' hands are groundless because Russia always limits such deliveries with severe constraints, emphasized the minister. Later on, Israeli political establishment expressed concerns about forthcoming exports of the Russian antiship missiles to Syria and assumed that symmetrical retaliatory steps were possible.

"One of the tasks laid upon Bastion systems in Syria will be coverage of Russian Navy's technical support base in Tartus", Korotchenko said.

According to him, Tartus Naval Base is the most important facility of Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea. Dredging works and renewal of quay infrastructure have been carried out in Tartus through recent years; this will make possible to accommodate Russian large-size warships.

Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said to RIA Novosti in Aug that Tartus Naval Base would be capable to accommodate heavy ships like cruisers and even aircraft carriers after 2012.

As for Korotchenko, none of the present-day warships including prospective US ships can repel the strike of Yakhont supersonic antiship missiles which fly adaptive trajectories.

"To speak plainly, modern shipborne air defenses cannot intercept such missiles", added the WATAC director.

It is of particular importance that Syria signed end-user certificate under the Bastion delivery contract; that excludes re-export of these arms to extremist groups of the Middle East. "Besides, Russia reserves the right of mandatory inspections of the missile deployment sites", said the head of WATAC.

According to the WATAC experts, this missile system developed by the military industrial corporation NPO Mashinostroyenia is designed for engagement various surface ships of landing task units, convoys, carrier strike groups, as well as single ships and ground radiocontrast targets in intensive fire and electronic countermeasures. Operating range is up to 300 km. MCMS Bastion is capable to protect a 600-km long seashore from enemy's landing operations.

The customer can be supplied with additional equipment like Monolit-B self-propelled over-the-horizon detection radar or helicopter-based targeting radar.

Set up time of Monolit system from traveling to fire position makes less than 5 min.

Terminal flight altitude of Yakhont missile is 10-15 meters above sea level, terminal velocity is 750 meters per second. Missile warhead delivers 200 kg explosives which blast within the target ensuring 100 per cent destruction of a target after the first hit.

Completely fueled and assembled missile with compactly folded fins is stored in a sealed transporter/launcher container. All necessary operational checks are carried out remotely by maintenance staff.

Russian Navy's maintenance base in Tartus is the only Russian military base overseas. In 1971 the USSR agreed with Syrian government to deploy Soviet naval assets in Tartus. The base was supposed to maintain naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea, primarily for repairs and logistic support of Black Sea Fleet 5th Task Squadron (Mediterranean).

In 1991 the Mediterranean Squadron ceased to exist; since that time only non-regular cruises were performed by Russian warships to the Mediterranean Sea.

Nowadays, Tartus base includes two mooring floats, workshop vessel (rotates each 6 months), warehouses, barracks, and other buildings and equipment.

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