A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 getting airborne (Image © Sukhoi)

Russia re-opens Belarus and Arctic airbases

A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 getting airborne (Image © Sukhoi)
A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 getting airborne (Image © Sukhoi)

The Russian Air Force is re-estabilishing itself in both Belarus and the Arctics. The Defence Ministry announced on 15 October 2014 it will open a Sukhoi Su-27 (Flanker) fighter base at Babruysk in Belarus in 2016 and a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31 (Foxhound) interceptor base at Tiksi in the far north.

Babruysk (Bobruisk) is the second main operating location for Russian combat aircraft in Belarus, but Moscow sent extra Flankers to it already in March this year. That was a reaction to NATO strengthening its forces, a move by the Western military alliance in reaction to Russia’s taking of the Ukrainian military and civilian locations on the Crimean peninsula. Experts already thought the Russian Flanker at Babruysk might stay more permanently, which has now been officially confirmed.

Baranavichy
How many Su-27s will relocate to Babruysk is yet unclear, but it might be as many as 24. That number of Flankers is already operational on another airfield in Belarus, Baranovichi Airbase, to which Russia also deployed an A-50 AWACS aircraft earlier this year. We at Airheadsfly.com don’t now if that one is still there though, but a temporarily deployment of such asset in the future is likely.

A MiG-31 in earlier action (Image © Olga Balashova / Russian Air Force)
A MiG-31 in earlier action (Image © Olga Balashova / Russian Air Force)

Arctic airbases
As at Babruysk re-construction of two Arctic airbases is also underway. Tiksi Airbase in the far north reopens in 2017 as a MiG-31 (NATO-reporting name Foxhound) interceptor location. Relatively far off of everything the Russian Air Force seems eager to reposture itself to protect raw material, oil and gas reserves in the Arctics. In August the Russian Ministry of Defence said it is also preparing the airfield of Temp on Kotelny Island – part of the New Siberian Islands – to be able to receive and service the large Ilyushin IL-76 airlifters in use in large numbers by the Air Force.

One almost wonders if Moscow expects US long-range bombers and air landing US Marines to come and fly in over the North Pole like Russia feared in the Cold War days.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

Doors open on this military deployed Aeroflot IL-76MD with registration RA 78803. The first paratroopers are already leaving the sidedoors. Photo taken during an earlier exercise. (Image © Russian Air Force)
Doors open on this military deployed Aeroflot IL-76MD with registration RA 78803. The first paratroopers are already leaving the sidedoors. Photo taken during an earlier exercise. (Image © Russian Air Force)