MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Specialists of the main Armored Directorate of the Russian Defense Ministry and industry representatives will, in mid-February, conduct trials of new weapons and military equipment slated for use by the Russian army in the Arctic, Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Dmitry Bulgakov said on Sunday.
"This is not the first expedition carried out in the far north, but this time it will be necessary for the military specialists to cover an exceptionally difficult route in the shortest possible time, from the Tiksi settlement (the Sakha Republic) and back across the ice cover of the Laptev Sea, by straits between the islands and the coastal area using snow and swamp-going vehicles," Bulgakov told reporters.
According to Bulgakov, during the autonomous 2,000-kilometer (about 1,240 miles) trek, the newly-installed technical equipment on Russia's tracked military vehicles would be evaluated. Specialists will be able to provide maintenance at low temperatures, down to minus 60 degrees Celsius (°), for at least three days of autonomy to demonstrate the readiness of the vehicles. Russia will require drivers to maintain the micro-climate in the crew compartment when driving through hills, deep snow, the polar night and snowstorms, with wind speed exceeding 35 m/s.
The deputy head of the Defense Ministry said that military snowmobiles, two-unit transport vehicles, and special all terrain vehicles which use low pressure tires and all-terrain vehicles, which had been finalized according to department requirements. Upgraded two-tier DT-10PM and DT-30PM transporters will also undergo tests in the Arctic.
In 2013, Russia announced a strategy to increase its presence in the Arctic and to boost the region's development by 2020. In December 2014, Russia unveiled a revised military doctrine that prioritizes the protection of national interests in the Arctic.
Russia has been stepping up its military, trade and exploration activities in the Arctic region. It has been building transport and energy production infrastructure, as well as installing military facilities.