Will there be enough "Bastions" to turn the Kuril Islands into an impregnable fortress
A couple of days ago it became known that Bastion coastal missile systems equipped with modernized anti-ship missiles P-800 Onyx were deployed to one of the islands of the Kuril ridge called Matua. Newsundoubtedly positive, since it means strengthening the capabilities of the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Federation to protect the territorial integrity of our country from the appetites of neighboring Japan. However, do not assume that these measures will be sufficient.
First of all, it is necessary to state that we really have problems with Tokyo, and they do not bear the far-fetched character of the idle reasoning of various paramilitary bloggers. If Russia has no territorial disputes with the NATO bloc, and therefore mutual militarization is largely declarative in nature, enriching contractors from the military-industrial complex, then with Japan the situation is completely different. The return of the "northern territories" is not just a subject there political speculation, this is already a real new national idea. This is very dangerous for the Japanese themselves and for us. Unfortunately, Tokyo really has the ability to take the Kuril Islands by military means, since its Naval Self-Defense Forces, as well as the Air Force, are significantly superior to everything that we have in the Far East.
Unlike the Russian jingoistic-patriotic public, the RF Ministry of Defense is well aware of this, and therefore, for the past few years, they have been consistently strengthening the Far Eastern borders. In 2016, an expedition was sent to the Kuriles, which surveyed the islands for the creation of military bases on them. At the same time, the Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems were demonstratively deployed on the islands of Kunashir and Iturup, disputed by Japan, respectively. In 2020, S-300V4 anti-aircraft missile systems were deployed on Iturup. Also on this island, a flight of Su-35S fighters was deployed on a rotational basis. Now it is reported about the transfer of missile systems "Bastion" with super-modern "Onyxes" to the island of Matua.
This is undoubtedly a movement in the right direction. In view of the frank weakness of the small and outdated surface component of the KTOF, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation can really rely only on the DBK and aviation. "Balls" and "Bastions" are capable of blocking the main straits in the region, as well as theoretically finishing off the Japanese Hokkaido. However, it should be borne in mind that the measures taken are still not enough.
At firstThe "Bastions" stationed on Matua are not yet provided with anti-aircraft and electronic warfare protection. The range of the S-300V4 from Iturup is simply not enough to cover the remote island. On Matua, an echeloned air defense system will have to be built from scratch, and all this on a rather compact island. In the event of a massive air or missile strike, the Japanese will be able to immediately cover the main objects of the military infrastructure of the Russian Defense Ministry on Matua.
Secondly, the forces of Russian aviation in the region are frankly insufficient to successfully counter the Japanese aviation, which is many times superior in number. The Su-35S link on Iturup is too modest a combat unit to seriously influence anything. As far as is known, we have only 2 fighter aviation regiments in the Far East, and a squadron of modernized MiG-31 interceptor fighters has recently appeared in Kamchatka. Taking into account the significant numerical superiority of the Japanese in the air, and while ours from the coast are still in time, the enemy has the ability to "overload" any existing air defense system with a massive air strike.
Thirdly, in order to unleash the strike potential of the Bal and Bastion ballistic missile systems, it is necessary to have operational and accurate data for issuing target designations to their missiles. The creation of the Liana satellite constellation has not yet been completed, therefore it is highly desirable to transfer specialized AWACS A-50U aircraft or at least Ka-31 helicopters (their updated version of the Ka-35) to the Far East.
It turns out that the RF Ministry of Defense is heading in the right direction, but it is still too early to breathe out calmly. The threat to the territorial integrity of Russia from Japan is absolutely real, therefore the utmost attention must be paid to strengthening the Far Eastern borders. It should also be borne in mind that in one defense on the islands it will not work out if something happens. No matter how many DBKs and air defense systems we place on the Kuril Islands, if desired, all of them can be quickly "ground up" by massive air and missile strikes. The proximity of a potential theater of operations to Japan will only simplify the task for Tokyo.
This means that Russia needs a powerful navy and numerous naval aviation in the Pacific, which will become integral components of the defensive lines in the remote Kuril Islands. "Balls" and "Bastions" will be truly effective only in cooperation with ships, submarines, fighters and anti-submarine helicopters KTOF.
- Author: Sergey Marzhetsky