Russia will not sell the Bal-E coastal missile system (CMS) to Azerbaijan because of the risks it may present to the ships of the Caspian flotilla located in Russian territorial waters, writes Kommersant newspaper.
The countries have initialled a contract involving the delivery of a small consignment of CMS and several dozen 3M24 missiles (the export version of the Kh-35E), but it never came to the signing of the document.
The publication, referring to its own sources, explains that the reason for the disruption of supply lies in the position of the Russian Ministry of Defence: the department considered the supply of these systems inexpedient. 'It was useless to argue with this argument, so the initialled agreement was put away, our position was heard,' confirmed one of the Kommersant interlocutors.
Considering the possibility of missile homing on ground targets as well, another source of the newspaper pointed to 'a very delicate geopolitical nuance' and said: 'We would not really like this weapon to be used in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.'
Bal-E is an export version of the coastal missile complex Bal (ball), adopted for service in Russia in 2008. It consists of self-propelled command and control centres, self-propelled launchers with Kh-35E anti-ship missiles, transport-handling vehicles. CMS’s main mission is to protect bases, control territorial waters, as well as coastal infrastructure and sea communications.