Coastal defense batteries return to center stage

Traditionally, until the mid-60s, military ports and arsenals, as well as certain strategic locations on the coasts, were frequently protected by coastal batteries, both anti-aircraft and anti-ship. But the erosion of the threat, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as the appearance and democratization of missiles on board combat ships, led many countries to dispense with these defenses. However, in recent years, several armies have undertaken to acquire new capabilities of this type, in particular by acquiring coastal batteries equipped with anti-ship missiles. How can we explain this revival of coastal defense batteries, and what roles can they play in a modern military system?

In recent months, Ukraine, but also Taiwan, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland, have all announced their intention to acquire anti-ship coastal defense batteries, or to strengthen their existing defenses in this area. same the United States Marine Corps has developed a solution in this direction, to protect its dismounted units in the absence of air or naval support. Other countries, such as Russia, China, Vietnam, Iran and North Korea, have started to modernize their own coastal defense systems, in order to increase their effectiveness and deterrence. Although they had largely fallen into disuse for several decades, modern coastal defense systems indeed offer very interesting features when it comes to dealing with a significant naval threat, or the risk of amphibious assault. .

K-300P Bastion - Russia

New land-based anti-ship systems, such as the Russian K300P Bastion or the Norwegian NSM CDS, simultaneously combine mobility, high levels of lethality and long range of engagement, surpassing in many areas the defensive capabilities of warships and combat aircraft. . Thus, a battery of the Russian Bastion system, which consists ofa 6 × 6 Command and Control vehicle (C2), 4 8 × 8 missile launch vehicles with 2 missiles per truck, and 4 loading vehicles, can be deployed over a coastal area nearly 50 km long and over an area of ​​over 500 km2, making it very difficult to locate, or to counter.

It uses the P800 Onyx supersonic anti-ship missile, capable of exceeding Mach 2,5, which makes it possible to reach targets 450 km away with a military load of 250 kg, sufficient to put out of action the most imposing. It only takes 5 minutes to deploy the Bastion mobile battery and activate the firing of one or more Onyx missiles. It is therefore very difficult to eliminate the threat by preventive strikes, by cruise missiles or by an attack of combat aircraft, the batteries being able to move very quickly, and remain discreet under the cover of vegetation for example.

DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (China)

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