Russia plans to reconstruct an abandoned Kola Peninsula military airport

The move comes as part of a broader push to build or rebuild military aviation facilities across the Arctic.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - June 15, 2022
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The abandoned Severomorsk-2 airstrip is located some 5 kilometers south of the Northern Fleet’s Severomorsk-1 air base on the Kola Peninsula.(Google Earth via The Independent Barents Observer)

As part of a major upgrade of Northern Fleet airstrips in the European Arctic, the Severomorsk-2 airstrip that was shut down in 1998 will now be reconstructed and reopened.

Comprehensive investments are needed. After being abandoned 25 years ago, most of the airfield facilities and gear on taxiways were looted. The 1,800-meter runway is still intact, but in bad shape with severe cracks even visible from satellite images such as Google Earth.

In recent years, the runway has been used for smaller UAVs operated by Russia’s Northern Fleet whose Headquarters is located in the city of Severomorsk, 7 kilometers to the northeast of the former air base.

Severomorsk-2 is 11 kilometers northeast of Murmansk.

Northern Fleet Commander, Admiral Aleksandr Moiseev included Severomorsk-2 among Russian Arctic military airfields to be reconstructed and new-built by 2030.

“The development and construction of airstrip network in the Arctic area continues. The development plan for the network until 2030 includes construction of two [airstrips] in Nagurskoye and Temp, as well as reconstruction of seven airstrips in Severomorsk-1, Severomorsk-2, Severomorsk-3, Rogachevo, Talagi and Kipleovo,” Admiral Moiseev said to state-controlled news-agency TASS.

The former seaplane facility at Safonovo, south of Severomorsk in the Kola Bay, will also be re-established, the admiral said.

No details were provided on which aircraft could possibly be based at the reconstructed Severomorsk-2. Upgrade of the airstrip could be a preparation for more advanced UAVs that Russia has said will play an important role in future military plans.

Today, the Northern Fleet has two major air bases on the Kola Peninsula, the Severomorsk-1 and Severomorsk-3.

Located on the outskirts of Severomorsk city, the Severomorsk-1 air base has a 3,500-meter-long runway and is home to maritime surveillance aircraft (Il-38), and anti-submarine helicopters (Ka-27).

The Severomorsk-3 is the air base for the Northern Fleet’s fighter jets and is located 28 kilometers east of Murmansk.

There are two other military air bases on the Kola Peninsula as well, the Olenya near Olenogorsk which is home to long-range Tu-22 bombers and the Monchegorsk with fighter jets.