The entire Russian coast from the Kola Peninsula to the Kamchatka Peninsula will be protected by MiG-31 fighter jets, equipped with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.
It should be noted that the two peninsulas are at the opposite ends of the Northern Sea Route, within Russian territorial waters.
Near Kamchatka are also the Kuril Islands, long disputed between Japan and Russia.
This will reportedly create an “impenetrable barrier” and the Russian Navy would be capable of taking control of the entire area along the coast.
The Kinzhal hypersonic missiles are reportedly capable of sinking warships at a distance of up to 2,000 km. Experts cited by Izvestia claimed that the Russian naval aviation would be the most well-equipped in the world.
According to the report, the Russian Ministry of Defense recently decided to equip the naval aviation with Kinzhal hypersonic missile system.
The new weapon will go into service of the regiments, which include MiG-31 interceptors, sources in the military-industrial complex told Izvestia.
When they will be delivered depends on when the Kinzhal will be fully ready to undertake combat duty. The Russian Navy’s warships and submarines will provide real-time coordinates of the targets for the aircraft, equipped with the missiles.
On December 17th, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov stated that currently, the Kinzhal hypersonic missiles were undergoing tests, they were being launched at a firing range, being subjected to various climatic conditions, including in the Arctic.
At the same time, an aerodrome network is being developed, which will expand the geography of the use of this weapon.
The Russian Navy’s aviation has two military units armed with MiG-31 fighters. One is based at the Monchegorsk airfield in the Murmansk region, and the second at Yelizovo in Kamchatka.
With the advent of the Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, the fleet will be able to “reach” almost any region of the Arctic adjacent to the shores of Russia.
Aircraft based on the Kola Peninsula will control the space from the coast of Iceland to the Kara Sea. And from Kamchatka, the MiG-31 completely covers the waters of the East Siberian, Okhotsk and Bering Seas.
In 2018, in the Perm and Krasnoyarsk Territories, as well as in the Chelyabinsk Region, units of the 21st mixed air division were deployed, armed with MiG-31 fighters.
This allowed Russia to protect its southern borders. With the commissioning of fighter aircraft for the navy equipped with Kalibr missiles, the airspace would be covered around the entire perimeter.
The Arctic region has long been a zone of active geopolitical rivalry, military expert Vadim Kozyulin was cited as saying:
“Now there are several points of clash of interests of a number of powers,” he said. “There were questions – who will develop the minerals on the ocean shelves. Moreover, not only the countries of the region, but also the USA participates in these discussions. And MiG regiments with Kinzhal are going to be placed at key points in the region.”
The MiG-31 is a long-range supersonic all-weather fighter-interceptor. It was developed back in the Soviet Union, but many experts now call it an unsurpassed machine in its class. Several MiG-31s can cover airspace up to 900 km. The fighter’s flight range without heavy weapons is about 2 thousand km.
In 2018, a special modification was developed of the MiG-31 fighter jet for the Kinzhal hypersonic missile.
Aircraft with the K index are significantly different from the basic version – they received new on-board equipment, an increased fuel supply, communication equipment for receiving target designation data. Due to the dimensions and weight of the rocket, the center of mass of the fighter has shifted – as a result, it was necessary to change the methodology of combat use and train pilots to take-off and land with weapons attached under the fuselage.
The situation in the Arctic promises complications in the future, mostly due to US’ refusal to acknowledge that it is possible that it doesn’t lead the global entry into the region and cannot have impose its hegemony over the resources there.
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