Northern Fleet rotates long-range Arctic interceptors
© RIA Novosti. Valeriy Melnikov

Northern Fleet rotates long-range Arctic interceptors

The crews of Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31BM Foxhound fighters and their warplanes serving with a detached combined air force regiment have been rotated at the Northern Fleet’s Rogachyovo airfield on Yuzhny Island following the first one-month tour of duty to guard Russian Arctic state borders under an experimental combat duty program.

“Lieutenant General Alexander Otroshchenko, Commander of the Northern Fleet’s Air and Air Defense Army, visited the island to inspect the working and living conditions of those under his command. He flew in a MiG-31BM aircraft from an anchor base on the Kola Peninsula to his landing place that was Novaya Zemlya, thereby assessing the upgraded plane’s reliability and performance,” the Northern Fleet’s press service reported. 

The Northern Fleet’s fighters-interceptors have been placed on experimental combat duty in Novaya Zemlya for the first time in modern Russian history. During this project, specialists will assess the potential for using fighters in high Arctic latitudes. Naval aviation pilots are accumulating experience of operating aircraft from all-season airfields of the Arctic Ocean’s islands where harsh weather conditions impact the use of aircraft.

“Low ambient temperatures, powerful sidewise winds, fog, low clouds, heavy snowfalls and other unpredictable occurrences of Nature are possible anytime, even occasionally contrary to weather forecasts. Consequently, Arctic flights always take place in actual weather reports. Pilots serving the first tour of duty were lucky because they were able to practice simulated intercepts,” the press service noted.

No violators were spotted near Russian Arctic borders during the one-month tour of duty on Novaya Zemlya. The experimental deployment of fighters-interceptors at Arctic airfields considerably expands their combat potential in the high latitudes, and they can control additional air space over the Northern Sea Route, the national transport artery in the Russian Arctic.