Abandoned military airport in Arctic Russia will be reconstructed

Upgrade of the airstrip could be a preparation for more advanced UAVs that Russia has said will play an important role in future military plans. (iStock)

As part of a major upgrade of Northern Fleet airstrips in the European Arctic, the Severomorsk-2 that was shut down in 1998 will now be reconstructed and reopened.

Comprehensive investments are needed. After being abandoned 25 years ago, most of the airfield facilities and gear on taxiways were looted. The 1,800-meter runway is still intact, but in bad shape with severe cracks even visible from satellite images like the Google Earth.

In recent years, the runway has been used for smaller UAVs operated by Russia’s Northern Fleet whose Headquarters is located in the city of Severomorsk, seven kilometers to the northeast of the former air base.

Severomorsk-2 is 11 kilometers northeast of Murmansk.

Reconstructed by 2030

It is Northern Fleet Commander, Admiral Aleksandr Moiseev, that included Severomorsk-2 among Russian Arctic military airfields to be reconstructed and new-built by 2030.

“The development and construction of airstrip network in the Arctic area continues. The development plan for the network until 2030 includes construction of two [airstrips] in Nagurskoye and Temp, as well as reconstruction of seven airstrips in Severomorsk-1, Severomorsk-2, Severomorsk-3, Rogachevo, Talagi and Kipleovo,” Admiral Moiseev said to state-controlled news-agency TASS.

The former seaplane facility at Safonovo, south of Severomorsk in the Kola Bay, will also be re-established, the Admiral informed.

No details were provided on which aircraft could possibly be based at the reconstructed Severomorsk-2. Upgrade of the airstrip could be a preparation for more advanced UAVs that Russia has said will play an important role in future military plans.

Important air bases 

Today, the Northern Fleet has two major air bases on the Kola Peninsula, the Severomorsk-1 and Severomorsk-3.

Located on the outskirts of Severomorsk city, the Severomorsk-1 air base has a 3,500-meter-long runway and is home to maritime surveillance aircraft (Il-38 and Tu-132), and anti-submarine helicopters (ka-27).

The Severomorsk-3 is the air base for the Northern Fleet’s fighter jets and is located 28 kilometers east of Murmansk.

There are two other military air bases on the Kola Peninsula as well, the Olenya near Olenogorsk which is home to long-range Tu-22 bombers and the Monchegorsk with fighter jets.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Arctic Security – Will Canada’s federal budget deliver for NORAD?, Eye on the Arctic

FinlandUS military refuelling plane flies over Finland day after NATO announcement, Yle News

Greenland: Denmark, Faroe Islands agree to establish air surveillance radar to bolster gaps in Arctic surveillance, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Arctic security discussed at Reykjavik Northern Group meeting, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Useless to continue regional diplomatic relations”, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia pauses nuclear safety cooperation with Norway in the North, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:  Finland will not go into NATO without Sweden, president says, says PM, Radio Sweden

United StatesU.S. Army poised to revamp Alaska forces to prep for Arctic fight, The Associated Press

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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