By Jacek Siminski
Earlier in October, Putin stated strongly that Russia would never “surrender” its Arctic area. Indeed, Temp airfield located on Kotelny Island, the largest of Russian islands in Novosiberian region, is being reactivated.
The airfield has been operational beginning in 1949 then, 20 years ago, its activity was suspended, and the infrastructures preserved for future use. Since then, Russian policy towards Arctic has become more aggressive and one of the elements of that policy is to reinstate the aforementioned airfield for Russian Air Force planes.
In 2012, a helicopter crash occured during a Russian specialists’ visit to the island. Nobody died, but the mishap halted the reactivation activities. This year people and equipment were delivered by sea. Back in September an expedition included 150 people, 40 machines and vehicles.
The process of reactivation of the base went fast and, at the end of October, the first An-72 transport landed there. Currently, an air traffic control service is present, along with accomodation, own water supply, a power station and heating. The airfield is not to be a minor one, since it will be able to accomodate landings of planes as large as Il-76 cargos.
Air traffic on Temp is expected to be a regular, year-round and in all weathers.
There are plans to continue the expansion with another airfield, Tiksi, in Yakutsia. It is said that the role of the Arctic bases is to safeguard and serve the Northern Sea Route shipping lane and adjacent Arctic zone.http://theaviationist.com/2013/12/08/russia-arctic-base/