For the first time in modern Russian history, paratroopers have landed on a drifting floe in the Arctic Ocean. On Tuesday more than 90 paratroopers from the Ivanovo-based 98th Airborne Division jumped from an Ilyushin Il-76 to the drifting research station Barneo close to the North Pole.
On Barneo the soldiers has set up a camp and will be conducting drills on operations in extreme climatic conditions. The ground temperature on Bareno is around 30 degrees below zero. Load-carrying platforms with materials, supplies, fuel and lubricants were also dropped on the polar base.
“Landing an airborne unit at the North Pole became one more experiment for operations in extreme climatic conditions”, Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Meshkov says to ITAR-TASS. “The servicemen are to carry out a training rescue operation on search and evacuation of imaginarily injured Polar explorers and crewmen of aircraft”, he adds.
The plane took off from the Olenya military airfield in Olenegorsk on the Kola Peninsula, where the paratroopers had been training for transfer to the Arctic.
The drop on Barneo comes only three week after Russia dropped 350 paratroopers from the 98th Airborne Division over the far northern New Siberian Islands.
The ice station Barneo is set up every spring on 89°N – 100 kilometers from the North Pole. The station, which is operational for about one month, is used as base by scientists and tourists from all over the world.