The Russian Defense Ministry has decided to deploy Kh-35 Bal coastal defense missile system in the Arctic, along the Northern Sea Route. The Northern Sea Route ( Severnyy morskoy put, shortened to Sevmorput) is a shipping route officially defined by Russian legislation as lying east of Novaya Zemlya and specifically running along the Russian Arctic coast from the Kara Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait. The entire route lies in Arctic waters and within Russia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The deployment of Bal coastal defense missile system has already begun. The first missile systems have been placed on Franz Josef Land and have already taken up combat duty. In the future, it is planned to deploy Bal coastal defense missile system the entire Northern Sea Route. According to the plans of the Russian Defense Ministry, the Bal missile system, together with the Bastion systems previously deployed in the Arctic, will take control of almost the entire coastal zone.
The Zvezda Kh-35 (NATO reporting nam: AS-20 ‘Kayak’) is a turbojet subsonic cruise anti-ship missile. The coastal defense missile system was designed as a successor to ageing Soviet Redut (Western reporting name SSC-1 or Sepal) and Rubezh (SSC-3 or Styx) coastal defense missile systems. It was adopted by a Russian military in 2004. Its Western reporting name is SSC-6 or Sennight. This system is also being proposed for export customers. It is designed to attack vessels up to 5,000 tonnes.
The Kh-35 missile is a weapon featuring a normal aerodynamic configuration with cruciform wings and fins and a semisubmerged air duct intake. The propulsion unit is a turbofan engine. The missile is guided to its target at the final leg of the trajectory by commands fed from the active radar homing head and the radio altimeter. Target designation data can be introduced into the missile from the launch aircraft or ship or external sources. The Kh-35 can be employed in fair and adverse weather conditions at sea states up to 5–6, under enemy fire and electronic countermeasures.