Air International 2021-04
A.Mladenov - Russia's race for Arctic power
This An-26 transport, assigned to the 403rd OSAP, is used to resupply the remote garrisons in the deep-frozen Arctic zone, within the Northern Fleet area of responsibility
The Ka-27PS is the principal SAR helicopter, operated from ships decks and sometimes used for assault transport. The type is in service with the 830th OKPVP, a helicopter regiment equipped with deck-capable helicopters, stationed at Severmorsk-1
The Russian MoD has announced intentions to deploy MiG-31 s on QRA on a permanent basis. The type is well able to handle the harsh operating environment present at Arctic forward bases
The AVMF branch’s MiG-31 fighters are on duty at two permanent QRA locations in the eastern and western ends of the Russian Arctic zone. This is an upgraded ‘Foxhound’ from the 98th OSAP, home-based at Monchegorsk, seen at the forward QRA location in deep-frozen Rogachevo
The MiG-31's long-range arsenal is represented by the R-33 air-to-air missile, with four carried under the belly
The MiG-31 fleet of the AVMF, operated by three squadrons, is enjoying a rediscovered significance as a valuable military and political tool for power projection in the arsenal of the Russian military machine. This is the forward-deployed QRA flight from the 98th OSAP seen at Rogachevo airfield in early February 2021
When operating in the northern regions, MiG-31 aircrews fly in immersion/anti-exposure suits providing significant thermal insulation
Of high political significance are the patrol missions performed in the North Pole area. AVMF aircraft, such as this Il-38N, are being tasked with monitoring the environment and icy conditions as well as keeping an eye on the activities of foreign ships along the NSR
The Russian Arctic militarisation drive is viewed as a direct consequence of trying to extend both its borders and its control over the area running from Northern Siberia towards the resources-rich and still unexplored territories around the North Pole. The Tu-142MZ/MK fleet is instrumental in this effort.
The Northern Fleet tactical strike assets useful to enforce the EEZ in the Arctic include a dozen Su-24M Fencer-D bombers