How and Why Russia Creates Arctic Force Grouping

7Russia has taken another major step towards the resumption of its military presence in the Arctic and the establishment of the Arctic force grouping. Reconstruction of “Temp” airfield and preparation for the creation of other military facilities are started at Kotelny island of Anjou archipelago.

How they are doing it

5On September, 3 a unit of warships and support vessels of the Northern Fleet left Severomorsk for the second large-scale campaign in the Arctic. Just as in the previous campaign the unit was led by the flagship of the Northern Fleet “Petr Veliky” nuclear cruiser.

3This year, the Arctic campaign involves all Russian nuclear-powered surface fleet – the heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser ” Petr Veliky” and the four nuclear -powered icebreaker “Yamal”, “Vaygach”, “50 Let Pobedy” and ” Taimyr”.

In a short time the airfield should be prepared for the reception of An- 72, An -74 and An- 26 transport aircraft. The work will be conducted at a high rate. The first aircraft will be able to come here in October.

1In the future the runway will be extended and lengthened, and “Temp” will be able to receive such heavy aircraft as AN-22 and IL -76, and eventually to use it for strategic air operations. First Deputy Defence Minister Arkady Bakhin said that “air service will be a regular, year-round and all-weather. We must restore completely the polar aviation and its infrastructure. And we will do it”.

Navy Commander Viktor Chirkov said that the task of the unit is to assess navigational and hydrographic conditions, hydro-meteorological monitoring, inspection of geodetic points, and study of the possibilities of navigation of non-icebreakers. In other words, the full range of preparatory work is done. The sailors are working on Rudolf Island (the northernmost island of the Franz Josef Land).

Why all this is done

Now a few words about why all this is done. The need for a permanent military presence in the Arctic is caused by two reasons.

2The first reason is strategic security. On the north Russia is rather poorly protected against various means of attack, both air and sea-based. This situation must be corrected. Especially given the increased presence of foreign military force in the Arctic.

Secondly, the need for the Russian military presence is necessary for the pursuit of national interests in this crucial area. The Northern Sea Route is increasingly beginning to be exploited, making it one of the world’s most important transportation corridors. For Russian the Northern Sea Route will become more and more important because it will actively develop the Arctic continental shelf and mineral deposits. Today, their production is greatly complicated by the difficulty of field development and the difficulty of extracted natural resources transportation.

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