Commander in Chief of Russia’s Land Forces General-Lieutenant Vladimir Chirkin last week visited the brigade in Pechenga to inspect how testing of new vehicles and armored vehicles is going.
In March 2011 Russia announced that the 200. motorized infantry brigade in Pechenga would be re-organized to become an “Arctic” brigade specially equipped for military warfare in Arctic conditions. It was first announced that the brigade would be ready for duty by the end of 2011, this date was later changed to 2015. By that time Russia will have received new vehicles designed for operations in the Arctic.
In an unexpected move last year the Northern Fleet announced that the brigade would become part of the Northern Fleet on December 2012.
The brigade in Pechenga is now being used as a testing field for new snow and swamp-going vehicles GAZ-3351, TTM-3P and DT-3P, the Ministry of Defense’s web site reads.
GAZ-3351 is a two-tiered belted vehicle capable of driving in snow and swamp. It can carry 16 persons or 2500 kilos of cargo. TTM-3P is a light amphibious personnel vehicle.
DT-3P is an amphibious armored vehicle capable of going “where there are no roads, only directions”, as Rossiskaya Gazeta puts it. It can run for 700 kilometers without stopping and reach a speed of 60 kilometers per hour.
Having evaluated the vehicles’ advantages and disadvantages in winter conditions, General Chirkin gave orders to continue the test throughout spring and summer.
The 200. independent motorized infantry brigade was established in 1997 after a regrouping of the former 131. motorized infantry division. The brigade is located in the Pechenga-Luostari area just some kilometers from the border to Norway and has its headquarters in the settlement of Pechenga.
The brigade includes infantry regiments, a tank battalion, various artillery battalions, an engineer battalion, an air defense missile battalion and other units.