Part of Western, Central, Eastern military districts' forces to be attached to Arctic Strategic Command

The Joint Strategic Command, which is being formed in the Russian Arctic on the basis of the North Fleet, will be reinforced with manpower and hardware from the Western, Central and Eastern Military Districts stationed in circumpolar areas, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told Interfax-AVN on Tuesday.

The Joint Strategic Command, which is being formed in the Russian Arctic on the basis of the North Fleet, will be reinforced with manpower and hardware from the Western, Central and Eastern Military Districts stationed in circumpolar areas, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told Interfax-AVN on Tuesday.

"Alongside the North Fleet, which currently belongs to the Western Military District, the new Strategic Command will be reinforced with military units from the Central and Eastern Military Districts which are tasked with ensuring security in the Arctic zone," the source said.

Part of the air force and air defense units stationed in the North will also be affiliated to the Joint Strategic Command in the Arctic, he continued. "The new command will control a number of airbases for which military airfields are being rapidly built in circumpolar areas, as well as air defense facilities," the source said.

Pantsir-S1 missile and artillery systems were put on duty on the Kotelny Island of the Novosibirsk archipelago this year, he said. "The deployment of intermediate and long-range air defense systems in this area has also been planned," the source said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier that a new strategic command would begin its operations in the Arctic on December 1, 2014, on the basis of the North Fleet.

"The new joint strategic command in the Arctic zone is due to begin operating on the North Fleet basis as of December 1 this year," Putin said at a meeting focused on defense industry issues on Monday.

According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russian units will be deployed along the Arctic belt, from Murmansk to Chukotka, in 2014.

"Our coming to the Arctic has been rather active and most units will be deployed along the Arctic belt, practically from Murmansk to Chukotka, already this year," he said.

In addition, the radar field in the Russian Arctic will soon be complete, Shoigu said. Three expedition teams are building infrastructure on the Arctic islands.

"Thus, we will complete our radar field this year, and in 2015 will be practically ready to meet unwanted guests both from the east and from the north," Shoigu said.

Troops successfully practiced a number of Arctic missions this year, the minister continued.

"Military infrastructures continue to develop in the region for defending the interests of the Russian Federation. A North Fleet unit supported by vessels of the Murmansk Shipping Company and Rosatomflot icebreakers carried personnel and hardware of a tactical group to the Kotelny Island [the Novosibirsk archipelago] in the course of the [Vostok 2014] drill," he said.

A Pantsir-S1 crew had a live fire practice on the Kotelny Island. Their target launched by a Rubezh mobile coastal missile system was successfully destroyed," the minister noted.

A Kinzhal air defense missile system mounted on the destroyer Admiral Levchenko also had a live fire exercise in the Novosibirsk archipelago area.

Radar station units and air defense direction posts have almost been put on combat duty on the Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt.

"A tactical airborne team of the 83rd separate air assault brigade of the Airborne Forces and the 155th separate marine brigade of the Pacific Fleet made their first landing on the Wrangel Island," the minister said.

In turn, Air Force Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said that the Russian Arctic airfield Temp on the Kotelny Island will eventually be customized to receive Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transport aircraft.

"We intend to land Il-76 there at some point. We have every reason for doing so," Bondarev said. He also said it was planned to make the airfield, which currently operates for nine months per year, an all-season facility.

The Russian Air Force has placed emphasis on Arctic airfields, Bondarev said. "We are developing the Rogachevo airfield on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago and other northern airfields in Vorkuta, Tiksi, Anadyr, Cape Schmidt and elsewhere. These airfields will be restored and our aircraft will be stationed there," Bondarev stressed.

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