February 14, 2013
“So far this week, Northern Fleet aircrews have made three flights to the Arctic region"

From RIA Novosti: Russian Northern Fleet aircraft have started patrolling the Arctic Ocean on a regular basis, Defense Ministry spokesman Capt. First Rank Vadim Serga said on Thursday.

“So far this week, Northern Fleet aircrews have made three flights to the Arctic region,” he said.

Two flights were made by an Ilyushin Il-38 May maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft and one by a Tupolev Tu-142 Bear maritime reconnaissance and ASW aircraft, he said.

The ASW aircraft take off from fleet airbases in the Murmansk and Vologda regions and fly over international waters above the Arctic Ocean and along the Northern Sea Route, Serga said. . . .

These patrols are in addition to strategic bomber patrol flights which Russia resumed over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans in August 2007. According to the Defense Ministry, Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers fly an average of 50 such patrol missions every year.

Russia has officially set the goal of deploying a combined-arms force including military, border, and coast guard units by 2020, to protect its political and economic interests in the Arctic and boost Russia’s military security.  (photo: Vitaliy Ankov/RIA Novosti)

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