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Russia assembles third of combat-ready Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 at the Olenya base

The Olenya airbase is one of the main ones for the Russian Aerospace Forces to launch massive missile strikes against Ukraine.
Russian bombers at Olenya airbase
A satellite image shows Russian strategic bombers at Russia’s Olenya airbase, May 2024. Credit: Defense Express
Russia assembles third of combat-ready Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 at the Olenya base

Satellite images showed Russian 12 Tu-95MS and 13 Tu-22M3 strategic bombers, one Tu-160, and two An-12 military transport aircraft at Russia’s Olenya airbase in the Murmansk Oblast as of 15 May 2024.

Defense Express reported, “This suggests that Russia has assembled practically a third of its total combat-ready Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 bomber fleet at Olenya.”

The British Defense Ministry assessed that Russia has around 40 operational Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 bombers remaining.

The Olenya airbase is one of the main ones for the Russian Aerospace Forces. And the concentration at the remote Olenya base could indicate preparations for new attacks on critical infrastructure.

However, as the report notes, “it may also reflect Russia’s desire to move its most valuable aircraft out of range of potential strikes by Ukraine’s long-range kamikaze drones.”

Defense Express reported that only six Tu-22M3s were spotted at the Mozdok airbase in late April, “underscoring how significant Olenya has become as a base for Russia’s long-range aviation.”

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