Fighter jets for Russia’s new Arctic base

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Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu visits Franz Josef Land. Photo: Vadim Savitsky/ mil.ru
Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu visits Franz Josef Land. Photo: Vadim Savitsky/ mil.ru
The new Russian base on Franz Josef Land will be equipped with a 2,500-metre-long landing strip and a fleet of MiG-31 interceptors or Su-34 attack aircraft, Northern Fleet Commander Nikolay Yevmenov told Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu during this week’s visit to the Arctic islands.

Earlier this week, Shoigu paid a visit to the Island of Alexandra Land at Franz Josef archipelago, the site of Russia’s new northernmost military base. Several major installations are under construction on the island, among them a 2,500-metre-long air strip and a 14,000-square-metre base compound.

The new base is located on the 80th parallell, further north than any other comparable piece of infrastructure.

Russia is building a new base on Franz Josef Land. Photo: Vadim Savitsky/mil.ru
Russia is building a new base on Franz Josef Land. Photo: Vadim Savitsky/mil.ru

During the visit, the defence minister inspected anti-aircraft defence capabilities on site, as well as local living conditions and the construction progress of the buildings, Interfax reports.

According to new Northern Fleet Commander Nikolay Yevmenov, the new base will house a fleet of either MiG-31 interceptors or Su-34 attack aircraft, as well as Il-78 refuelling tankers.

“We are expanding our orbit of operations,” Yevmenov told Shoigu, Interfax reports.

Russia is in the process of developing and reopening a string of military bases in the Arctic. In addition to the one at Franz Josef Land, the country constructs base structures on the Island of Kotelny in the New Siberian Islands, in Tiksi, Yamal, Amderma and several more places.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada’s defence review and the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Denmark:  Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News

Finland: Finland confirms 6th Russian airspace violation in just over a year, Yle News

Norway: Russia is more confident and unpredictable: Norwegian Intelligence Service, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  New Russian spy ship to keep tabs on Norway, Barents Observer

Sweden:  New security landscape in the Arctic, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. general says Alaska military cuts not final without Arctic plan, Alaska Public Radio Network

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Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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