Russia to Build Combat Icebreakers for Arctic

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The Russian Navy intends to establish a group of icebreaking and ice-class combat ships to protect the Arctic coast and the polar islands.

Russia to Build Combat Icebreakers for Arctic

The Russian Navy intends to establish a group of icebreaking and ice-class combat ships to protect the Arctic coast and the polar islands, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Friday, citing the adviser to the CEO of the Krylov State Research Centre, Valery Polovinkin.

Conventional icebreakers, which are already under construction, will be complemented by attack ships, armed with artillery and missiles, and capable to operate in the Arctic.

“Recent exercises on landing on the Kotelny Island have shown that even being supported by the icebreaker fleet, the conventional warships cannot operate in the Arctic. The thickness of its broadsides cannot withstand the impact of crushed ice,” Valery Polovinkin said.

However, the Russian president set a task of permanent presence of the Navy in the region.

The reason for setting such a task is not only protection of the deposits and the Northern Sea Route. American submarines, armed with long-range cruise missiles Tomahawk, actively operate in the Arctic. From the polar latitudes, these submarines are able to fire the three-quarters of Russian territory that is not available from other directions.

“This is one of the main causes for the active development of military infrastructure in the North of the country and the Arctic archipelagos. An all-year sea link is required for this, and only an icebreaker fleet is able to provide it,” Polovinkin explained.

The lead ship of the project 21180 and the first icebreaker, built by order of the Russian Navy for the half a century, Ilya Muromets, was launched in St. Petersburg in June. In addition to the military mission, its features include azipods – steerable propellers, placed outside the icebreaker’s body, that allow it to move forward, backward, sideways, diagonally and turn on a dime at the same speed.

“Much more requirements are presented for modern icebreakers now. In the Arctic, icebreakers perform not only pilotage, but also ancillary, rescue and engineering works, as well as deliver cargo. A modern icebreaker is an autonomous multifunctional complex. For example, the project 21180 icebreakers have a powerful crane and a helipad,” Andrey Obukhov, one of the developers of the Ilya Muromets, said.

Due to the special design of the body, conventional icebreakers do not have a place for armament. For this reason, the Krylov State Research Centre is currently developing ice-class combat ships.

“Its appearance is still under discussion with the military, but we can already say that it will take a lot from the perspective icebreaker LK-110Ya Lider,” Valery Polovinkin said.

The Lider is a nuclear icebreaker, the design of which will be completed in 2016. Due to two new-generation reactors, it will have an unprecedented power of 120 MW and will be able to overcome any ice. The Lider will be able to reach speeds of 14 knots on the familiar Arctic routes. Now the speed of traffic there does not exceed 2 knots.

The launch of the icebreaker Ilya Muromets

Russia to Build Combat Icebreakers for Arctic

Russia to Build Combat Icebreakers for Arctic

Photo: TASS / Anatoly Medved

Russia to Build Combat Icebreakers for Arctic

Photo: TASS / Anatoly Medved

Russia to Build Combat Icebreakers for Arctic

Photo: TASS / Anatoly Medved

Russia to Build Combat Icebreakers for Arctic

Photo: TASS / Anatoly Medved

Russia to Build Combat Icebreakers for Arctic

Photo: TASS / Anatoly Medved

Russia to Build Combat Icebreakers for Arctic

Photo: TASS / Anatoly Medved

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