Alakurtti (air base)

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Alakurtti
Summary
Airport typemilitary
OperatorRussian Navy
ServesAlakurtti
Elevation AMSL538 ft / 164 m
Coordinates66°58′24″N 030°20′42″E / 66.97333°N 30.34500°E / 66.97333; 30.34500
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
8,202 2,500 Concrete

Alakurtti Air Base is a naval air base in Murmansk Oblast, Russia located 3 km northwest of Alakurtti.[1] It is serviced by the 4th Naval Bomber Regiment (Su-24) and 485 OVP (485th Independent Helicopter Regiment) flying (Mi-24 and Mi-8).

History

World War II

The construction of the airfield in the village of Alakurtti began shortly before the start of World War II. However, the airfield and village were captured by the 6th Infantry Division of the Land Forces of Finland and the 169th Mountain Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht in August 1941. Before the liberation on September 14, 1944, the military airfield played an important role for Germany: it carried out raids on Kandalaksha and the Kirov Railway. After unsuccessful attempts of the German troops to capture Murmansk, the fighting moved to the south and the airfield received German airplanes.

Throughout the war, the airfield was subjected to repeated bombardments by Soviet pilots. The 195th IAP, the 101st NKVD Stand, the 668th NBAP, the 828th SHAP and others participated in the battles for the airfield. On March 10, 1943, the 828th Ground Attack Aviation Svirsky Order of Suvorov Regiment, with 8 Il-2 aircraft under the command of Lieutenant Nikolai Kukushkin, made an attack on the airbase. More than 40 aircraft were destroyed during the attack, a fuel depot was blown up, and many airfield buildings were burned.

After liberation at the end of 1944, the 415th Fighter Aviation Regiment was based at the airfield, performing tasks during the Petsamo-Kirkenes operation.

Cold War

In the 1950s Alakurtti was being monitored by the US intelligence community for development into a strategic bomber base capable of reaching the US, [2] but Soviet Long Range Aviation began developing nearby Olenya air base instead. The airfield then took on an air defense role in the 1950s, hosting a fighter division of the 22nd Air Army,[3] subordinate to an air defense center at Severomorsk.

As Alakurtti is only 50 km (30 miles) from the border with Finland, a significant Army presence has existed since the Cold War era. The 85th Separate Helicopter Squadron of the 6th Army Air Force and Air Defense operated Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. In the 1980s Alakurtti hosted a Mi-8PP (Hip-K) helicopter regiment specializing in electronic jamming.[4] A tank/assault gun firing range is also located about 5 km (3 miles) north of the airfield.[5] The helicopter squadron was disbanded in December 2009 and its assets moved to Monchegorsk.

The former camp of the 54th Motor Rifle Division was reoccupied by a new arctic motor rifle brigade from January 2015.[6]

References

  1. ^ "Russia moves first troops to Arctic base near Finnish border". Alaska Dispatch News. January 15, 2015. Archived from the original on June 28, 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  2. ^ SOVIET CAPABILITIES FOR ATTACK ON THE US THROUGH 1957, CIA-RDP79R01012A003400040001-1, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC, February 24, 1954.
  3. ^ SOVIET AIR DEFENSE INSTALLATIONS OF ADVANCED DESIGN LOCATED AT KRASNO-VODSK, MURMASHI AND ORSK IN THE USSR, CIA-RDP78T05439A000400390047-8, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC, October 2, 1959.
  4. ^ ORGANIZATION OF SOVIET ARMY AVIATION HELICOPTER ASSETS, CIA-RDP84T00491R000100580001-3, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC, February 1, 1984.
  5. ^ SOVIET MILITARY ORDER OF BATTLE LENINGRAD MD, CIA-RDP78T04759A002200010072-4, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC, December 1, 1965.
  6. ^ мотострелковая (арктическая) бригада СФ-ОСК "Север" получила Боевое Знамя Archived 2015-05-02 at the Wayback Machine