- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Russia is moving new, specially modified air-defense systems that can withstand harsh arctic environments to key areas along its border with Norway and the U.S., the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (FSMO) said in its August report.

According to the report, the Kremlin will place short-to-medium range anti-aircraft SA-22 Pantsir-S1 battalions at Murmansk by the Norwegian border and at another unspecified location in the east of Russia, facing the U.S. and Japan.

The report comes a just two weeks after the Kremlin submitted a request to the United Nations to lay claim to the North Pole and a large area of the Arctic Ocean.

The twin-barreled Pantsir has a range upwards of 19 miles and can function in temperatures as low as -58 degrees Fahrenheit, according to FMSO.

The air defense system can also be used to “protect the defended asset from ground based and water surface-based threats.”

The Pantsir systems have been a stable for Russia and have been deployed in the arctic before, but the extreme weather conditions on chassis, a type of rolling platform, used to carry the missile system.

The newly modified system will likely be mounted on a new chassis developed for Russia’s third-generation Armata tank, FMSO wrote.

Moscow plans to open 10 Arctic search-and-rescue stations, 16 deep-water ports, 13 airfields, and 10 air-defense radar stations across its Arctic periphery, Business Insider reported.

The new bases along the Arctic will allow the Kremlin to take full advantage of the are as the region’s ice melts and more natural resources become available.

The U.S. estimates about 15 percent of the world’s remaining oil, up to 30 percent of its natural gas deposits, and about 20 percent of its liquefied natural gas are stored in the Arctic seabed.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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