MOSCOW, April 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Paratroopers of the Russian Airborne Troops have landed on a drifting floe in the Arctic Ocean at Russian polar station Barneo near the North Pole on Tuesday for the first time in Russian modern history.
More than 90-strong squadron of Ivanovo-based 98th Airborne Division located about 250 kilometres away from Moscow has landed from heavy military transport airplanes Ilyushin Il-76 on a drifting research station near the North Pole, spokesman of the Russian Airborne Troops Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Meshkov told ITAR-TASS. Load-carrying platforms with material supplies, foodstuffs and fuel and lubricants were also dropped on the polar base.
Chaplain Archpriest Savva, an aide of the division commander for the work with servicemen who are believers, has also parachuted with paratroopers. He enjoys high respect among soldiers, because he makes parachute jumps, primarily in units of young paratroopers. “Father Savva has already made 750 parachute jumps by today, current parachute drop became the 751st one for him,” Meshkov noted.
Parachutists and cargoes were airlifted to the North Pole from military airfield Olenya in the city of Olenegorsk, northern Russia’s Murmansk Region, where paratroopers were being trained for transfer to the Arctic region.
“Landing at the North Pole became one more experiment for operations in extreme climatic conditions. Servicemen are to carry out a training rescue operation to search and evacuate imaginarily injured Polar explorers and crewmen of aircraft,” the spokesman of the Airborne Troops said.
Special-purpose parachute systems Arbalet-2 and freight containers with a weight of up to 50 kilograms with life-supporting equipment amid extremely low temperatures were used for airlifting.
Russian drifting polar station Barneo re-opens in the spring at the 89th degree northern latitude, about 100 kilometres away from the North Pole. The polar base has an airfield for light transport airplanes Antonov An-74 and landing sites for helicopters Mil Mi-8.