Russia Rebuilding Military Airfields in the Arctic 

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

According to the independent Norwegian news service The Barents Observer, Russia is reconstructing airfields in the Arctic despite other defense spending needs, suggesting the Kremlin considers the Severomorsk airfields a high priority.Severomorsk-2 is adjacent to the main airfield, Severomorsk-1, and is close to the city of Murmansk.  This is an indication that it is not an emergency field but is within the existing air defense umbrella of the Northern Fleet.  Renovation work on Severomorsk-1 was completed in 2018, allowing it to accept all aircraft, including the heaviest transports.  Emperor Nicholas II International Airport supports commercial aviation in the Murmansk region.  


Thomas Nielsen, “Abandoned military airport on Kola will be reconstructed”, The Barents Observer (independent Norwegian internet news service in Russian and English currently blocked in Russia), 13 June 2022.

As part of a major upgrade of Northern Fleet airstrips in the European Arctic, the Severomorsk-2 airfield 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 like 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, seven 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 or newly-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,” The former seaplane facility at Safonovo, south of Severomorsk in the Kola Bay, will also be re-established.  

No details were provided as to which aircraft would 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, Severomorsk-1 and Severomorsk-3. 

Located on the outskirts of Severomorsk city, 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). 

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.