ROSTOV-ON-DON, February 22. /TASS/. A battalion of the Bal coastal defense missile systems has arrived at the Caspian Flotilla base in Dagestan in North Caucasus, Commander of Russia’s Southern Military District Alexander Dvornikov said on Friday.
"The formation of a separate battalion of the Bal coastal defense missile systems in Dagestan has actually been completed," the commander said.
The battalion’s main task is to protect the places of the stationing of Caspian Flotilla warships and units on the republic’s territory in areas vulnerable to amphibious assaults, the commander stressed.
Also, "work has actually been completed to form a missile brigade in the Astrakhan Region" in south Russia, the commander said.
The Bal coastal defense missile system is armed with Kh-35 subsonic low-altitude anti-ship missiles and is capable of destroying enemy ground and naval targets at a range of about 130 km.
The Kh-35 can hit warships with a displacement of up to 5,000 tonnes. The system’s full salvo of 32 missiles can frustrate a combat mission of an enemy’s large naval strike group, its amphibious force or convoy.
The modernized Kh-35E missile with a range capability of up to 300 km can be guided by a drone.
Caspian Flotilla’s new base
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in early April 2018 that the Caspian Flotilla will be relocated from Astrakhan to Kaspiysk. Late in June, Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Koroloyov told journalists that the Flotilla would be moved to its new stationing place gradually as the necessary infrastructure was built. A part of the Caspian Flotilla is already stationed in the Republic of Dagestan. The first stage of building the infrastructure for the stationing of Caspian Flotilla warships will be completed this year.
As was reported earlier, at its new base in Dagestan, the Caspian Flotilla will be reinforced with a marine infantry regiment, and also with new aircraft and warships, including two missile boats and two small air-cushion amphibious assault vessels. All the works are planned to be completed in the first half of 2020.