Russian MiG-31BMs take up combat duty in the Arctic

An undisclosed number of Mikoyan MiG-31BM fighter-interceptors from the Naval Aviation of the Russian Federation’s Northern Fleet have taken up combat duties at Rogachevo airfield in Russia’s Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

The Russian Ministry of Defence announced that the MiG-31BMs had taken up combat duties – essentially quick reaction alert (QRA) operations – at the northern airfield on January 16. The deployment comes after MiG-31BMs assigned to the Northern Fleet completed a number of training operations from Rogachevo airfield throughout 2020.

MiG-31BM [Russian MoD]
A Mikoyan MiG-31BM fighter-interceptor from the Naval Aviation of the Russian Federation's Northern Fleet on the ground at Rogachevo airfield in Russia's Novaya Zemlya archipelago. Russian MoD

In a press release, the Russian MoD said that the deployment of “MiG-31BM fighter-interceptors on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago will significantly expand the scope of application of the Northern Fleet’s fighter aircraft in the Arctic and significantly increase the zone of controlled airspace over the waters of the Northern Sea Route.”

AirForces Intelligence data states that the MiG-31BM entered operational service with the Naval Aviation of the Russian Federation in 2014. The BM standard version of the fighter-interceptor family is a modernised variant of the MiG-31B. The aircraft that deployed to Rogachevo airfield are seemingly from the 98th Independent Composite Aviation Regiment (OSAP), which is based at Monchegorsk in Russia’s Murmansk Oblast.