We continue to document and identify the weaponry and equipment of the Russian occupation forces in Crimea. The current OSINT investigation shows intelligence data on the exact location of the Russian ‘BAL’ coastal surface-to-ship missile complexes of the newly created 15th coastal defense missile-artillery brigade. The equipment for this unit has been transferred to the Crimea from the Republic of Dagestan, Russia.
One of the main reasons to capture the Crimea was practical implementation of the so-called ‘advanced military presence’ doctrine. After the annexation, the once flourishing Crimea becomes now a military base, a kind of ‘natural aircraft carrier’. This trend continues to persist at the expense of social and economic development of the region.
Besides that, starting from March of 2015, the Russian occupation forces have built up the air defense forces by moving to the peninsula several anti-aircraft missile systems. In particular, the 46th separate coastal defense missile Marines division (military unit No. 85103, Caspian Flotilla, Kaspiysk, Republic of Dagestan, Russia) was relocated to Crimea in 2014. It has the latest ‘BAL’ mobile coastal surface-to-ship missile systems (NATO reporting name: SSC-6 ‘Sennight’).
Information about 'BAL' coastal surface-to-ship missile system
‘The complex was designed to control the territorial waters and the breakdown zones; protection of naval bases and other coastal facilities and infrastructure. The ‘Bal’ system includes:
- up to 2 self-propelled command and communication control centers
- up to 4 self-propelled launchers
- Kh-35/Kh-35E and Kh-35У/Kh-35UE missiles in transporter-launcher containers. A typical launcher has 8 containers
- up to 4 transporter-erector units designed to prepare the secondary volley
- Effective distance: 120 km for Kh-35 missile (260 km for Kh-35U)
- Distance from the launching position to the coastline: up to 10 km
- Quantity of the missiles in each launcher and loading unit: up to 8
- Rocket launching interval: not more than 3 s
- Maximum movement rate: 60 km/h (off road – 20 km/h)
- Missile launching mass: 620 kg.
- Total missile establishment: up to 64.
- Endurance distance: at least 850 km.
The division mentioned above has 4 launchers, the control center and a transporter and is included into the 15th brigade (military unit No. 80365, Sevastopol, occupied Crimea).
It is noteworthy that there are almost no materials about its ‘interior life’ in open access. The photos of ‘BAL’ systems on a parade or training were the rare exceptions. The InformNapalm’s volunteers were able to unveil new details about the military equipment and personnel of the brigade (thanks to a Russian officer who uploaded all the needed information to his social profile).
- Name: Melnikov Nikolai Petrovich
- Rank: senior lieutenant
- Born: in Kazan on November 3, 1990
- Education: Kansk Naval Sea Cadet Corps (Kansk, Russia), Tikhookeansky Makarov Higher Naval School
- Car: license plate No. ‘m863OE (123)’
- Skype: nikolay23544
- VKontakte: profile (archive of profile, album)
In 2012-2013 Melnikov posted a lot of photos from his service in Caspian Flotilla in the 46th separate coastal defense missile Marines division. This is justified with the geotags (Karabudakhkentsky raion of Dagestan, Kaspiysk) and other characteristics (specific military equipment, landscape, etc). The officer has a lot of pictures in his profile – many of them disclose the workflow of the 46th brigade at those times and the names of the brothers-in-arms. But we will use only several photos from that period – the ones which show of the ‘BAL’ complex elements.
The picture made by Melnikov on October 22, 2012, draws our attention. The comment below it says: “Helicopter pad. It arrived from Mozdok, we were fueling it. Then it flew away to bomb the bearded”.
The ‘Crimean period’ of this ‘talented’ Russian officer’s service is the most interesting for us. The first pictures were uploaded in September of 2014. The picture showing his new shoulder straps of the senior lieutenant has the ‘Sevastopol‘ geotag. The inscription on the straps says: “Senior Lieutenant Melnikov Petrovich. KUVO’s [abbreviation of the Command of the Southern Military District] order No. 117 from June 23, 2014”.
The next photo registered the movement of the division’s equipment convoy (Mykhailivka village near Saky town, to the north-west of Simferopol). The coordinates are 45°06’44.1″N 33°38’49.6″E
Of course, such officer could not be left without a ‘For the Return of Crimea’ medal. And here it is (order by the Russian Ministry of Defense No. 411 from July 1, 2014, signed by colonel Oleg Budanov, the commander of the military unit No. 80365).
As it was previously mentioned, this military unit No. 80365 is the 15th coastal defense brigade. This means that it is documentaly proved that the Dagestanian ‘BAL’ complexes became the Crimean.
Georeferencing of the ‘BAL’ complexes in the Crimea
During the investigation of the Melnikov’s social profile, we found several locations where the ‘BAL’ systems were noticed.
- Date: April, 2015
- Landmark: 44°29’52.7″N 33°32’50.1″E, to the east of Cape Fiolent near Sevastopol
- Date: November 2, 2015
- Landmark: 45°23’26.7″N 32°29’47.1″E, Olenivka village in Chernomorsk raion, near Cape Tarkhankut
One of the 5 vehicles had a military license plate No. [0680 АО (21) ]
A field camp at the same location was registered in November of 2015. The photo shows Melnikov with his subordinates.
It should be noted that the locations of the ‘BAL’ systems are pretty vulnerable for guerrilla raids and are the primary targets in case of military conflict buildup on the peninsula. The locations where the ‘BAL’ complexes of the 15th brigade have been noticed are shown on the map.
In conclusion, the InformNapalm international community’s volunteers wish the officer of the Russian occupation forces ‘success’ in his future service in the sunny Crimea. We are grateful for the assistance in the disclosing of restricted information. Probably, his subsequent ‘career’ after this publication will be characterized by a photo from the period of his service in Dagestan [inscription on the water melon – ‘ass’].
Original article by Nikolay Mahno, translated by Stepan Grishin
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