|The Russian Su-35|
Follow The Money Trail
The Russian Arctic military buildup is to assert ownership of oil and gas deposits under the ice cap.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last year announced an ambitious plan to dominate a wider Arctic Ocean. Calling the Arctic a "top defense priority," Putin said he will add 40 warships to the Russian navy, including:
- a Borey-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine
- a Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric submarine
- the advanced search-and-rescue ship Igor Belousov
- the refurbished Kirov-class nuclear-powered missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov, and three refurbished nuclear-powered attack submarines
Russia is building an Arctic air force as well.
Look! Up in the sky! That's not Superman -- it's a Su-35!
As reported on DefenseNews.com, Col. Igor Klimov of the Russian Air Force announced plans earlier this month for the service to invest billions of dollars to buy 150 new aircraft for Russia's Arctic forces. According to Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, these will include:
- Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers
- Su-30SM and Su-35S fighter jets
- Kamov and Mil combat helicopters
- Yak-130 advanced jet trainers
- Ilyushin Il-76MD-90 transports
Four NATO nations -- the U.S., Canada, Norway, and Denmark (via Greenland) have interests in the Arctic that could collide with Russia's. All four are also current or potential buyers of Lockheed's F-35 stealth fighter jet (Canada is evaluating a plan to buy 65 F-35s at a total cost of up to $30 billion, Denmark 30 F-35s, and Norway 52 more). The F-35's high price tag has spurred Canada and Denmark to consider cheaper aircraft such as Boeing's F/A-18 -- but at the cost of stealth.