Russia builds Arctic air defense shield

Missiles S-400. (Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Creative Commons BY 4.0)
It will protect the country against attack from the north.

A new Arctic air defense division will be established in 2018, military representatives confirm to Izvestia. It is to cover the territory «from Novaya Zemlya to Chukotka», the newspaper reports.

Both new and existing units will be included in the structure, which is to be «capable of discovering and destroying enemy aircrafts, cruise missiles and drones».

According to military representatives, the air defense division will help protect Moscow and the Ural region against attack from the side of the North Pole.

Russia’s current missile force capacities in the region are concentrated in the western part of the Arctic and first of all in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Oblasts.

New bases and missile systems

The country has over the last years bolstered its Northern Fleet with a wide range of new missiles. In 2015, the country moved the S-400 Triumph, the new generation anti-aircraft weapon system, to the region. That was followed by the deployment of the Bastion mobile coastal missile systems in 2016.

In late 2015, a regiment of S-300 surface-to-air missile system was deployed in Novaya Zemlya, the Arctic archipelago. In November 2016, military representatives confirmed that a Bal missile system was soon is on its way to the Northern Fleet.

The establishment of the new air defense division comes as Russia is developing a series of new and upgraded bases along its Arctic coasts, including in the Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands, Cape Schmidt and Wrangle Island.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canadian Army Exercise ARCTIC BISON 2017 challenged by winter thaw, Radio Canada International

Finland:  Finnish Air force to take part in joint Finnish-Swedish-US military exercises, Yle News

Norway:  Norway hikes 2017 defense budget, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  Paratrooper exercises over Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:  New security landscape in the Arctic, Radio Sweden

United States: Here’s what’s in the U.S. Defense Department’s new Arctic strategy, Alaska Dispatch News

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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