derelict-sukhoi-su-15 (Image: Dmitry Avdeev; abandoned Sukhoi Su-15TM at Ugolny Airport)

Strategically situated on the Gulf of Anadyr amid the icy tundra of the Russian Far East, Ugolny Airport serves as a mixed-use civilian and military aerodrome today. Its long, reinforced concrete runway also makes it an ideal emergency landing ground, allowing stricken passenger aircraft on the northern trans-Pacific route to divert to safety there. But during the Cold War, its remote location at the tough extremities of Siberia gave rise to its military role, as a staging post for the Soviet Union’s much feared bomber fleet, including Tupolev Tu-95 Bears and supersonic Tu-22M Backfires.

antonov-an-12b-wreck (Image: Dmitry Avdeev; remains of an Antonov An-12B)

Located seven miles east of the port town of Anadyr, Ugolny Airport is a isolated, barren place. Chilly, neglected military buildings coexist near the relatively modern passenger terminal, while spartan ramps and the vast concrete runway extend to the north.

To the east of the runway, the hulking shell of a large, derelict hangar stands amid piles of Cold War rubble dating back to the days of the Soviet Union. The structure is still visible on Google Earth, though the abandoned relics of Ugolny’s former fighter force may now – finally – have been cleared.

derelict-sukhoi-su-15-siberia (Image: Dmitry Avdeev; abandoned Sukhoi Su-15TM Flagon hulk)

The desolate airfield is understood to have opened in the 1950s and been maintained over the years by the Arctic Control Group of the Russian Air Force. In addition to its regular civilian service to Moscow, Ugolny was also home to fleet of Sukhoi Su-15TM ‘Flagon’ interceptors from the 1960s until the early 1990s, when the type was retired from Russian service.

The last remnants of the base’s Su-15s (and other aircraft hulks) were captured in this series of photographs by Dmirty Avdeev in 2001; decrepit, unloved shells of planes parked on ramps and outside the collapsing hangar. Elsewhere on the bleak airfield lies the decapitated cockpit section of a former Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-76TD transport plane. The aircraft, serial number RA-76834, is understood to have crashed due to pilot error on January 25, 1997.

Ilyushin-Il-76TD-wreck-ugolny-airport-3 (Image: Dmitry Avdeev; remains of crashed Ilyushin Il-76TD)

Like many old Russian airfields that have found new life in the post-Soviet world, the dilapidated military ruins at Ugolny Airport are just as powerful reminders of the old Soviet Union as this impressive fleet of grounded Backfire bombers that remain parked on an abandoned Siberian air base to this day.

Ilyushin-Il-76TD-wreck-ugolny-airport-4 (Image: Dmitry Avdeev; all that’s left of wrecked Ilyushin Il-76TD)

Related – 12 Abandoned Cold War Airfields of the Former Soviet Union