Troops of the Russian Northern Fleet have completed exercises in the Arctic. They were attended by the “Arctic” T-80BVM tanks, aviation and air defense systems – a total of eight thousand servicemen and 800 pieces of equipment. Gazeta.Ru was trying to figure out why Russia is building up its military presence in the North, what kind of equipment it possesses and how the NATO countries are reacting to it.
Move aside U.S. submarines
The Northern Fleet includes 41 submarines (eight of them with ballistic missiles) and 38 surface ships, including the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, which is currently undergoing repairs. The Northern Fleet has the largest submarine in the world – the project 941 Akula cruiser Dmitry Donskoy. Since 2002, the submarine has been participating in the tests of Bulava ballistic missiles.
In 2013, the Northern Fleet received the first nuclear-powered cruiser of Project 955 Borey – Yuri Dolgoruky. The second nuclear-powered ship of Project 955 was Prince Vladimir, which was launched in November 2017. Also in 2017, the Northern Fleet received a large landing ship “Ivan Gren” of project 11711. It is designed to transport and drop a reinforced marine battalion.
The Arctic seas and the Arctic Ocean are the area of ??operation of NATO submarines. First of all – the USA and Great Britain. They have both nuclear-powered multipurpose submarines and carriers of intercontinental ballistic missiles there, Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of the magazine Arsenal of the Fatherland, a member of the expert council of the Military-Industrial Collegium, told Gazeta.Ru.
“Therefore, the strengthening of the Northern Fleet of Russia, the deployment of monitoring systems on the water and under water forces our opponents to plan their maneuvers more carefully, keeping a great distance from our military means in this region,” the expert added.
The Northern Fleet includes land formations of motorized riflemen and marines stationed on the border with Norway. The task of the former is to defend the border and facilities of the Northern Fleet, while the latter is to participate in amphibious operations.
The ground divisions of the Arctic received equipment designed specifically for operation in the Far North. These are the Pantsir-SA anti-aircraft complexes, and two-link all-terrain vehicles, special vehicles for rest, cooking and eating. Motorized riflemen also received “Arctic” T-80BVM tanks – vehicles in white-gray-black camouflage, adapted for operations in the Arctic.
Nordic air games
Russia is also engaged in the modernization of military air bases in the Arctic – more than 10 airfields are planned to be restored here. They will house Su-24 bombers, Su-34 fighter-bombers, Su-25 attack aircraft, MiG-31 fighter-interceptors, and various types of helicopters. The northern bases are also planned to be used for refueling strategic bombers Tu-22, Tu-95 and Tu-160.
Now control over the airspace in the Arctic is carried out by radars 1L119 “Sky-SVU”. They were included in the 45th Army of the Air Force and Air D-efense of the Northern Fl-eet. This complex is design-ed to detect cruise missiles, drones, stealth aircraft and hypersonic targets.
The United States and Norway are also strengthening their combat aircraft in the region. According to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, by 2024, the Royal Air Force will fully switch to fifth-generation F-35 fighters. Canada plans to deploy more than 70 F-18 fighters in the Arctic. After a year, the United States intends to renew the aircraft fleet of the 11th Air Army, stationed in Alaska.
“In the event of a hypothetical war with Russia, the main routes of flights of US strategic aviation go through the North Pole and the Arctic. These are the most profitable routes for strategic bombers from which cruise missiles can be launched, ” Murakhovsky said. “The most energetically favorable trajectories of ICBM launches from US territory against targets in Russia pass through the Arctic Ocean.”
Therefore, by deploying forces and means of airspace control, strengthening combat aviation in the region, Russia thereby pushes the possible launch lines of US aviation missiles by several hundred kilometers, Murakhovsky said.
“Conquering an alien planet”
“The Arctic is a region rich in gold, copper, gas and platinum. Russia needs to secure its Arctic borders. Therefore, the infrastructure is being built there, the combat training of servicemen is being improved, and there are constant exercises using Arctic equipment. In the Arctic, there are unique buildings and equipment. In fact, space technologies are involved in their creation. As if we are exploring an alien planet, “- said to” Gazeta.Ru “Associate Professor of the Departm-ent of Political Science and Sociology of the PRUE, military political scientist Alexander Perendzhiev.
According to the expert, the Northern Sea Route also makes the Arctic a “tasty morsel” for all countries. According to Perendzhiev, “this is the principle of the future – whoever rules in the Arctic gains world domination.”
“The Northern Sea Route is an international sea route, which in the near future will become one of the most important logistics directions in the transportation of goods from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. This is a shorter, logistically more profitable route. Now the cargo turnover is relatively small – 33 million tons per year, but in the foreseeable future the turnover may grow by an order of magnitude, ”Murakhovsky said.
Perendzhiev noted that the United States and Canada consider their interests in the Arctic infringed.
“The governments of these countries believe that they also have a right to the Arctic resources. The fact that Russia is consolidating itself here is a serious challenge, first of all, for the United States, ”the expert noted.
He also said that the US exercises in the Barents Sea showed their inability to operate in permafrost conditions.
“The United States has no chance of developing the Arctic just because it does not have icebreakers. Except for one that they can’t fix in any way. Russia has a whole icebreaker fleet. Our paratroopers have already made parachute jumps in the Arctic zone, the United States is not capable of this at all. They do not have a promising military system for the struggle for the Arctic. Their exercises in Norway, in the Barents Sea show their weaknesses, they do not know how to operate in permafrost conditions, ”Perendzhiev says.