To stop Ukrainian counteroffensive Russia deploys BAL coastal missile system to strike land targets


Recent reports from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), as of June 15, 2023, confirm that Ukrainian forces have persisted with their counteroffensive operations in a minimum of three strategic directions. The reports indicate significant progress made on that day, compelling the Russian forces to resort to the BAL coastal missile defense system. The deployment of this system was to neutralize ground targets and halt the progressive Ukrainian counteroffensive.
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The Russian Forces deploy the Bal coastal missile defense system to Bryansk Oblast, to strike land targets. (Archive Picture source Rosoboronexport)


The spokesperson for the Ukrainian General Staff, Oleksandr Shtupun, relayed that the Ukrainian forces launched successful offensive initiatives to the north and northwest of Bakhmut. Additional information from the Press Center of Ukraine's Tavrisk Group of Forces conveyed the advancement of Ukrainian forces up to one kilometer in the western Donetsk Oblast. The forces are reportedly endeavoring to bolster their tactical positions around Vuhledar, located 30 kilometers southwest of Donetsk City.

Contrarily, Russian military bloggers alleged unsuccessful attacks by Ukrainian troops to the southwest and south of Orikhiv in the western Zaporizhia Oblast. They claimed that the Ukrainian forces are escalating the counteroffensive operations in the region, leveraging the improved weather conditions. Brigadier General Oleksii Hromov, the Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian General Staff, reported that the Ukrainian forces have pushed forward up to 3 kilometers near Mala Tokmachka in western Zaporizhia Oblast and up to 7 kilometers near Velyka Novosilka in the western Donetsk Oblast. Furthermore, they have succeeded in liberating seven settlements in those areas since the commencement of the counteroffensive operations.

However, it has been noted by a Russian blogger that the Russian forces have employed the "Murmansk-BN" Electronic Warfare (EW) complexes to interfere with the sensors on Ukrainian aerial reconnaissance equipment. They have also reportedly used the "Krasukha-4" EW complexes to impede satellite signal connections within a 300-kilometer radius.

The Murmansk-BN is a Russian long-range electronic warfare system. This system is designed to disrupt radio communications at extended ranges. Its primary purpose is to counter Western high-frequency (HF) communication systems, but it can also be used to counter other radio-based systems.

The Murmansk-BN complex has a reported operational range of over 5,000 kilometers, which allows it to affect communications in a broad area. The system is designed to be highly mobile and can be quickly deployed to a variety of locations, making it a strategic asset for the Russian military.

The Krasukha-4 is a Russian mobile electronic warfare system designed to jam and disrupt radar systems, such as ground-based radar stations, airborne radar systems (like those found on fighter jets or early warning and control aircraft), and even radar-guided surface-to-air missiles. This essentially allows it to hide or shield a specified area or unit from enemy radar, making it effectively invisible.

The system is mounted on a large truck, making it highly mobile and allowing it to keep up with advancing units or to be quickly moved to where it is needed most. This mobility, combined with its electronic warfare capabilities, makes it a key part of Russia's defense strategy, protecting its own forces and installations from enemy detection and missile strikes.


In response to Ukrainian counteroffensive Russia deploy BAL coastal missile defense system 925 002
The BAL is a mobile coastal missile defense system that is designed to engage navy ships at a range of up to 260 km. (Picture source Rosboronexport)


Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian General Staff Brigadier General Oleksii Hromov notably stated on June 15, 2023, that Russian forces have deployed a “Bal” Kh-35 coastal defense missile system to Bryansk Oblast, which Hromov warned may allow Russian forces to conduct strikes on Ukrainian far-rear areas in Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Poltava, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kharkiv oblasts. Russian forces have long repurposed various missile systems, such as S-300 surface-to-air-missile systems, to strike ground targets and compensate for shortages of precision munitions, which is likely why Russian forces have deployed a coastal defense system to a land-locked oblast.

The BAL coastal defense system is a highly advanced Russian mobile missile system, engineered specifically to engage an array of surface ships. This spans landing squadrons, convoys, carrier strike groups, and even single vessels engaged in various landing operations. The system is also capable of targeting ground radiocontrast targets, even under conditions of intensive fire and electronic countermeasures.

One of the standout features of the BAL system is its centralized fire control. This innovative system provides for the optimal assignment of missiles, ensuring that each one is deployed in the most efficient and effective way possible. The fire control system is able to form a spatiotemporal structure of a massive salvo, enabling the targeting of multiple objectives at once. When controlled from a single command post, six targets can be managed simultaneously. If controlled from two command posts, this number doubles to 12, and from each launcher unit, it can rise to an impressive 24 targets.

The BAL system benefits from both active and passive radar detection channels. This feature facilitates the generation of flexible designation data, providing an added degree of adaptability to the system.

Given its mobile nature, high maneuverability, and covert change of fire positions are key traits of the BAL system. The platform boasts significant cross-country capabilities, which ensure the rapid and discreet movement of the system as needed.

The system's ammunition load is transported by transport-loading vehicles. This enables the launch of another missile salvo within a minimal interval, significantly enhancing the rate of fire and allowing the BAL system to maintain a high operational tempo.

The system's firepower is quite impressive, boasting a maximum range of fire of up to 260 kilometers. The missiles are incredibly fast, with a velocity of Mach 0.85. When it comes to engaging the enemy, the BAL system does not hold back. With four launching units, it can release a salvo of up to 32 missiles. The most remarkable aspect is that a complete missile salvo can simultaneously engage up to 24 targets, delivering a considerable blow to opposing forces.

The BAL system can deploy swiftly, taking just 10 minutes to be operational from a standing start. This rapid deployment capacity lends the system an essential edge in combat situations, where every minute counts.

In terms of target detection, the BAL system is highly adept, featuring an active radar with a detection range of up to 100 kilometers. Moreover, its passive radar extends this range considerably, being capable of detecting targets from as far as 450 kilometers away. This combination of active and passive radar ensures a high degree of surveillance and target acquisition capability.