Russia wants more control over Arctic airspace

‘We are engaged in a serious effort to enhance control over the area,’ head of the country’s radio-radar troops says.

Russia’s new and upgraded military units in the Arctic are now capable of keeping track of movements in the regional airspace both at medium and high altitudes, Maj.- Gen. Andrey Koban said in a recent interview with  Life Zvuk radio program.

Russia has deployed operational radio-technical units at the bases on Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, New Siberian Island, Cape Shmidt, as well as other places, Koban said.

“In the 1990s, we lost our radio-radar monitoring field in the Arctic [however], over the last several years we have seriously engaged in restoring control over the Arctic airspace,” Koban said.

The radio-radar capability is vital “because several countries now are attracted to this region,” the Russian general underlined.

He credited this newfound capability with the success of his units in discovering and tracking two U.S. B-52 strategic bombers that flew along the entire Russian Arctic border in early August.

Russia is in the process of building and upgrading several new Arctic bases. Among them is the Kotelny base in the New Siberian Islands. Included in that project is the upgraded Temp airfield and the 12,000-square-meter trefoil-shaped Severny Klever housing and administration complex. The facility includes all the equipment needed for comfortable living for more than 250 people.

The Kotelny base was declared ready for operations in December.

The radar equipment is safely installed in a way which makes them operational in all seasons and weather conditions, said Koban.

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: Barents Russia gets new missile radars, The Independent Barents Observer

United States:  Climate accelerating erosion at U.S. radar facilities in Arctic, APRN

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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