According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the first Bal systems are already in place, such as on Franz Josef Land in the northern Barents Sea.
Soon, the complexes will mark out the entire Northern Sea Route.
The increased deployment of the Bal system follows a statement last December from Defense Ministry Sergei Shoigu. He claimed that the number of Bal and Bastion systems in the Armed Forces at the time had only reached 74% of what is needed. He also said that infrastructure is developing in the arctic region. As can be seen now, his two claims foreshadowed the now heralded increase of Bal systems in the Arctic, Izvestia reported.
Entered into service in 2008, the Bal is considered versatile because it aims to protect the coast, the straits, as well as the naval bases. It takes around 30-40 minutes to reload the missile system once it fires, its range is 120 kilometers and the complex has the capacity to fire both single missiles as well as volleys of up to 32 subsonic missiles. The resort also boasts night vision among its arsenal of modern devices. However, its most useful feature is arguably its mobility and its short deployment time of just ten minutes.
According to military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, the purpose of the Bal missile defense system is exactly what the name suggests, to defend.
Russia does not intend to use the missile system in international waters, Murakhovsky told Izvestia.
Deployed along the Northern Sea Route, the goal is to protect Russia’s own territorial waters from any danger or threat, he said.
Murakhovsky said that no one will be able to enter Russia’s arctic waters without difficult obstacles. Exceptions may be made for civilian ships complying with appropriate rules, which may in specific cases allow them to cross territorial waters. However, warships will be strictly prohibited, especially in the event of conflicts or military escalations.