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MOSCOW, March 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's air force has started an operation to deliver equipment to the drifting Arctic station Barneo, being supplied for its new operating season in waters of the North Pole, force spokesman Colonel Igor Klimov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
“The IL-76 aircraft flew today from Murmansk airport for the eight-hour flight,” he said.
Its crew will deliver a first consignment of fuel, tents, food supplies and the expedition team’s personal belongings, dropped by parachute to a region located between 40-70 kilometres from the North Pole.
Eight team members will parachute from the aircraft at 1,700 metres to make camp and prepare a runway amid the ice floes.
Further cargo drops will be rolled out from the aircraft "dynamically" as the pilot raises the aircraft's prow five seconds before the consignment ejects from the back hatch without a parachute.
Only Russia's air force was experienced in performing such operations in high polar latitudes, Colonel Klimov said of eight years of flying to the station. A total of 50 tonnes of equipment and fuel, a power generator, food supplies, a tractor and 15 expedition members are destined to arrive by aircraft in new season flights to the base.
Two civilian Mi-8 helicopters were also heading to the station, Klimov said.