After landing, the paratroopers started hunting down a conditional enemy in collaboration with soldiers of a tactical group from the Northern Fleet. Photo: Press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense

Paratroopers jump at 10,000 meters over Russian Arctic base

Nobody has jumped from such heights so far north. "First time in world history," said Russian Deputy Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, about the special exercise at the Franz Josef Land.
April 26, 2020


The paratroopers, who jumped from an Il-76 aircraft, tested new equipment developed for extreme Arctic conditions, like oxygen masks, navigation, parachute systems, and white camouflage uniforms.

“Today, for the first time in world history, we conducted a group landing of personnel with special parachute systems in Arctic conditions from a height of 10,000 meters using oxygen equipment followed by combat training missions,” said Deputy Minister of Defense, Lieutenant General Yanus-Bek Yevkurov.

He added: “Nobody has done such a thing before us.”

In comparison, most skydiving jumps by civilians happen from an altitude of around 3,000 to 4,000 meters (10,000 to 13,500 feet).  

The soldiers’ gear was dropped with larger parachutes from the same aircraft. 

An Il-76 transport aircraft was used for bringing in the paratroopers and the gear. Photo: Press service of Russian Ministry of Defense


The jump took place over Aleksandra Land, the westernmost island on the archipelago of Franz Josef Land. Here, at 80 degrees north, Russia’s Arctic forces have built its northernmost military complex with a new 2,500-meter-long runway, huge building infrastructure.


The Nagurskoye base is equipped with the latest gear for Arctic military warfare. That includes snowmobiles, personnel trucks, helicopters, radar systems, and anti-aircraft missile systems, like the S-300 aimed at strengthening control over Arctic air space.

As previously reported by the Barents Observer, Chief of Russian Chief of the General Staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov, has confirmed that the new Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missile can be deployed to Arctic airports like the one at Aleksandra Land.

With the new runway, bombers like the MiG-31K can use the airport. So can large transport planes. The airport is built about 3 kilometers west of the runway Russia abandoned after the end of the Cold War.

A video released by Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti shows the paratroopers as they jump out of the plane, land and conduct combat training on the ground.

After landing on the snow, the paratroopers began the main stage of the tactical and special exercise. Several tens of them conducted reconnaissance and search operations aimed at destroying the conditional enemy sabotage and reconnaissance group, a press release from the Ministry of Defense in Moscow reads. 

Searching for the enemy, the soldiers used a UAV.

The exercise continued for three days along the northern shores of Aleksandra Land, around Cape Nimrod, close the eastern edge of the largest glacier on the island. In the end, the soldiers advanced to the collection point and went back to the Nagurskoye base.

More to come 

Photo: Press service of Russian Ministry of Defense

Lt. Gen. Yunus-Bek Yevkurov promises more training like this.

“We will conduct similar exercise annually, in different regions of the Arctic, with different compositions of the participants involved and at different periods of training.”

Before being appointed Deputy Minister of Defense last summer, Yevkurov was head of the Republic of Ingushetia for more than ten years.

At Franz Josef Land, Yevkurov was observing the exercise together with another Deputy Defense Minister, Colonel-General Andrei Serdyukov, Commander of the Airborne Forces.

Serdyukov was last summer heading the Russian troops in Syria.



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