Russian Su-34 attack planes “conquered” the North Pole. Mig-31 interceptors prepare to.

Four Su-34 Fullback bombers have reached the North Pole. Mig-31 Foxhounds prepare to.

In what is another sign of the renewed interest for the Arctic, four Russian Sukhoi Su-34 bombers have reached the North Pole recently.

In spite of a range (on paper) of 4,000 km, according to the Interfax news agency, the four bombers refueled twice during the flight, performing air-to-air refueling in pairs.

The flight of Fullback planes covered a total distance of more than 50,000 km in three days; each Su-34 spent about 20 hours in flight during the trip.

Not only Su-34s have been operating over the Arctic lately. Russian Air Force’s Mig-31 Foxhound interceptors have already operated at the latitude of 82nd degree, showing the capability to intercept targets around the North Pole.

The Russian Air Force, Colonel-General Viktor Bondarev told ITAR-TASS that they will soon fly the Mig-31 jets, for the first time in their (already long) history, over the North Pole, during future drills.

Although the production of the Mig-31 ended in the early 1990s, the aircraft is being upgraded to extend its operative life up to the 2028 – 2030, until a replacement will be available.

H/T James Byrne for the heads-up

Image credit: Wiki


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. How will they do patrols and intercept “foreign entities” if you can’t see them? =P The Canadians are going to be plotting the sea floor in what their claimed stake of North Pole section under the ice. So HA, stupid Russians.

  2. Ever notice when Russia flies long distance flights it makes the news but when American aircraft do this kind of thing everyday nobody even notices?

  3. How do pilots get to rest or sleep when they have to go on for 20 hours, in a sit up position? And I always wondered if they are shielded from the radiation of their powerful radars.

    • I believe the su34 has a narrow aisle between the side by side tandem seats and it was a design spec that they wanted one of the pilots/navigator to be able to take a little rest laying down in the aisle while the other piloted.

    • The radar antennas are bolted to nose of aircraft and project their radar beam away from aircraft and crew, usually +/- 60 degrees of longitudinal axis and +/- 30 degrees of pitch.
      Therefore, crew not exposed to radar emissions. However, as an USAF/International jet captain- solar radiation is extremely dangerous and increased exponentially with altitude. For example radiation received doubles from FL 370 to FL 430

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