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Winter Warriors: The Weapons That Guard Russia’s Arctic Reaches

© Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov / Go to the photo bankDrill of special ops unit of Chechen Republic near North Pole
Drill of special ops unit of Chechen Republic near North Pole - Sputnik International
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Seeking to protect its interests in the Arctic, Russia has developed a wide array of deadly and efficient weapon systems that will make any enemy think twice before attempting to invade the country’s northern reaches.

Several factors have led to Russia drastically building up its military presence and infrastructure in the country’s polar territories, according to RIA Novosti.

First of all, Russia’s geographical location allows the country to effectively control the Northeast Passage, one of the most important shipping routes in the world.

Distant sea voyage by Russian Northern Fleet's combat vessels - Sputnik International
Why Russian Arctic Fleet is a 'Formidable Force' to Be Reckoned With
Second, the ongoing military buildup helps Russia protect its interest in the Arctic with its vast oil and natural gas deposits.

Third, the Arctic Ocean has always been a security concern to Russia due to the country’s lengthy northern border, which prompted Moscow to devise methods of countering possible attacks from that direction.

Fortunately, Russia has a wide array of advanced weapon systems at its disposal that helps the country achieve these goals.

© Sputnik / Aleksey Nikolskyi / Go to the photo bankA Pantsir-SA air defense system based on the chassis of the DT-30 all-terrain tracked vehicle during the final rehearsal of the military parade in Moscow marking the 72nd anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945
A Pantsir-SA air defense system based on the chassis of the DT-30 all-terrain tracked vehicle during the final rehearsal of the military parade in Moscow marking the 72nd anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 - Sputnik International
A Pantsir-SA air defense system based on the chassis of the DT-30 all-terrain tracked vehicle during the final rehearsal of the military parade in Moscow marking the 72nd anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945

Two such weapons – Tor-M2DT short-range surface-to-air missile system and Pantsir-SA anti-aircraft artillery and missile system – were showcased during the Victory Day Parade in Moscow this year. Both vehicles are based on the DT-30 Vityaz tracked all-terrain vehicle and can operate at temperatures up to minus 55 degrees Celsius.

© Sputnik / Alexandr Vilf / Go to the photo bankTor-M2DT at the military parade in Moscow marking the 72nd anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
Tor-M2DT at the military parade in Moscow marking the 72nd anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. - Sputnik International
Tor-M2DT at the military parade in Moscow marking the 72nd anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.

The 80th Independent Motor Rifles Brigade stationed at the Alakurtti base is one of the most efficient Arctic units in the Russian military. Its troops are well-versed in Arctic warfare and have at their disposal a variety of advanced equipment such as TREKOL six-wheeled amphibious ATVs, TTM-1901 Berkut snowmobiles and all-wheel drive Kamaz and Ural trucks adapted to extremely low temperatures.

© Sputnik / Ilya BogachevTTM-1901 Berkut snowmobile
TTM-1901 Berkut snowmobile - Sputnik International
TTM-1901 Berkut snowmobile

The Russian military does not shy away from using dog and elk sleds, as animals can sometimes help navigate rough terrain areas where vehicles cannot pass.

© Photo : Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation / Go to the photo bankTwo-unit tracked transport vehicles and a special vehicle on low pressure tires on the basis of the all-terrain vehicle TREKOL, right, seen as new weapons and military and special equipment are tested in the Arctic.
Two-unit tracked transport vehicles and a special vehicle on low pressure tires on the basis of the all-terrain vehicle TREKOL, right, seen as new weapons and military and special equipment are tested in the Arctic. - Sputnik International
Two-unit tracked transport vehicles and a special vehicle on low pressure tires on the basis of the all-terrain vehicle TREKOL, right, seen as new weapons and military and special equipment are tested in the Arctic.

Meanwhile, Russian weapon designers are working around the clock developing new modifications of battle tanks and military helicopters that can operate in the Arctic.

The Russian Northern Fleet is also about to be bolstered by a number of powerful warships, including the Ilya Muromets diesel-electric icebreaker and Project 23550 Ivan Papanin patrol vessel armed with anti-ship missiles and 100m AK-190 artillery system.

And finally, last year Russia unveiled the Trefoil – probably "the only military installation in the world that's 100-percent adjusted to harsh Arctic conditions." The 14,000 square meters facility has its own power plant, water purification and fuel pumping stations, and heated garages; it is designed to operate autonomously and can sustain a garrison of 150 for up to 18 months.

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