Olenya (air base)

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Airport typeMilitary Northern Fleet
OperatorRussian Navy
LocationOlenegorsk, Murmansk Oblast
Elevation AMSL702 ft / 214 m
Coordinates68°09′06″N 033°28′12″E / 68.15167°N 33.47000°E / 68.15167; 33.47000Coordinates: 68°09′06″N 033°28′12″E / 68.15167°N 33.47000°E / 68.15167; 33.47000
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18/36 11,483 3,500 Concrete

Olenya (also Olenegorsk) is a major Russian Navy reconnaissance base, located on the Kola Peninsula 92 km south of Murmansk. The base and its staff settlement (Vysoky, Murmansk Oblast) across the Lake Permusozero from the city of Olenegorsk, and are served by the Olenegorsk rail station (formerly, Olenya station). Olenya serves as the headquarters for 5 MRAD (Naval Reconnaissance Air Division) and is host to two reconnaissance regiments. Its 3500-meter runway is the longest on the Kola Peninsula, making it a key facility for intercontinental flights across the North Atlantic basin.

Olenya was first detected by US intelligence in 1957 and was listed as having a runway length of 3350 m (11,000 ft)[1]. The base served as a forward deployment field for Long Range Aviation and was one of nine Arctic staging facilities for nuclear strikes on the United States.[2] An analysis in 1966 revealed 21 Tupolev Tu-16 Badger aircraft[3]. Near the airfield is the Olenegorsk Radar Station ballistic missile early warning site, which entered service in 1971. A number of surface-to-air missile sites were operational near Olenya during the Cold War[4]. During the 1960s and 1970s Olenya was used as a refueling stop on the Moscow to Havana Tupolev Tu-114 route.

As of 2006, Google Earth imagery showed nearly 40 Tupolev Tu-22M bombers on the airfield, but by 2018 only four of the aircraft appeared serviceable with another 27 aircraft awaiting disposal.

On 22 January 2019, a Tu-22M3 crash-landed after a training flight while attempting to make a landing at the Olenya air base. Two of the four crew members died in the crash, and a third died on his way to the hospital.[5]

Military operations[edit]

Units stationed at the airfield since the 1990s include:[6]


  1. ^ Cable, October 22, 1957, CIA-RDP61S00750A000400020092-3, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC, 1957.
  2. ^ STRATEGIC ARMS LIMITATIONS RELATED ACTIVITIES SUMMARY REPORT (SANITIZED), June 1, 1980, CREST: CIA-RDP80T01355A000100140001-2, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC.
  3. ^ OLENEGORSK AIRFIELD, USSR (Sanitized), CIA-RDP78T05161A001300010042-9, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC, June 1, 1966.
  4. ^ OLENEGORSK SAM SITE BO6-0 USSR, CIA-RDP78T05439A000500280082-0, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC, August 1, 1965
  5. ^ "Supersonic strike bomber Tu-22M3 crash-lands in Russia's northwest". RT (TV network). 22 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Aviatsiya VMF". Aviabaza KPOI.