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US to form icebreaker fleet for the Arctic

Trump intends to invest hundreds of millions dollars in military presence in the Arctic

Submitted by InfoBrics, authored by Lucas Leiroz, research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro…

In the past few months, the United States has tightened its policies in the Arctic, as several measures show. For decades, Washington has not been concerned with strengthening its military presence at the poles, giving greater focus to other regions of the planet, such as the Middle East. Due to this lack of attention to the Arctic, the US does not yet have a fleet of icebreaker ships, far behind its rivals such as Russia and China. Now, the American government intends to change this attitude.

On June 9, Donald Trump announced that he plans to create a fleet of icebreakers by 2029, according to a statement made to several departments. The fleet would be used in the Arctic and Antarctica. The project already has a name: Polar Security Cutter. The goal is to replace the only two American icebreakers, USCGC Polar Star and USCGC Healy, with a new, more modern and equipped fleet, capable of meeting the new objectives of the American strategy for the poles.

The main US ally in this project is Canada. The neighboring country, despite being militarily much inferior to the USA, already has a very capable icebreaker fleet, with more than 10 operational ships and three others under construction, in addition to planning to build another 4 in the near future. Together, the USA and Canada intend to face the growth of the Russian and Chinese fleets. China, even without direct access to the Arctic, has a small fleet of four icebreakers and plans to build two more ships soon. The Russians, however, are the most equipped. The Russian fleet consists of 53 ships, with another 6 under construction and another 12 scheduled to be built soon.

The American program is the result of a partnership of the US Coast Guard with the company VT Halter Marine Inc., signed in the amount of US $ 746 million. The contract was signed in April 2019, although the details of the cooperation have only been made public recently. There are interests beyond national defense involved in the project. Among the objectives of the program there is the use of the Coast Guard for the safety of commercial ships in the polar zones.

An important point is that the project also aims to replace diesel-powered ships with nuclear powered ships. Diesel-powered propulsion ships are less powerful and less efficient in breaking ice, but currently only Russia has nuclear powered icebreakers, which makes the dispute fiercer. In fact, the United States has all the necessary resources to build nuclear icebreakers, but this will certainly start a “nuclear era” in the Arctic, with the beginning of a new industrial-military race for the modernization of ships.

However, whether or not building nuclear icebreakers, the US will not reach the capacity of the Russian fleet anytime soon. For this reason, the project seems to make it clear that the initial objective, from a realistic perspective, is to undermine Chinese growth. The Chinese presence in the Arctic is the initial target of the cooperation between the USA and Canada, with Russia being a “further step” – and, perhaps, unattainable, considering the immense superiority of the Russian military presence in the Arctic.

It is likely, however, that the project’s slowness will hinder the US government’s claims. The estimated nine-year period for completing the project is long and in this time many things can happen on the international stage and in the Arctic in particular. Russia and China may further increase or modernize their fleets in that time and the United States will remain far behind its “targets” in this dispute. It is unlikely that Washington will be able to assemble a fleet of icebreakers strong enough to face Russia in the near future. The Americans’ dispute will continue to be with China – which already has a big advantage.

To compensate for its weakness in the Arctic, the United States is likely to begin a series of increasingly aggressive and provocative military training aimed at disguising its weakness with a smoke screen. The most strategic, viable and acceptable attitude for Washington would be to stop investing in projects of militarization of the Arctic and start more elaborate national recovery plans for the end of the pandemic, which affects the country drastically. Freezing military spending, withdrawing troops scattered around the world in regional conflicts and focusing on a policy for internal problems would be the best way to deal with the current American situation. However, Washington insists on maintaining a heavy-handed international policy and military presence in all areas of the planet.

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jrkrideau
jrkrideau
June 20, 2020

This USN initiative would seem to have the potential of turning into another F-35 fiasco, except with the F-35 at least the USA still builds warplanes.
 
It has been something like 45 years since it has built an ice breaker.

TravelAbout
TravelAbout
Reply to  jrkrideau
June 20, 2020

Speaking of the USN and fiascos, look no further than the issue they’re having with their latest aircraft carrier! LOL

Sue Rarick
Sue Rarick
Reply to  TravelAbout
June 20, 2020

And how is that Russian carrier doing? Not to mention China’s russian clone home built carrier. Nothing like 1980’s technology.

BobValdez
BobValdez
Reply to  Sue Rarick
June 21, 2020

The “Russian” ‘carrier’ was NOT built by Russia, it was built by the UKRAINE (the same as it’s sister ship, the now Chinese LIAONING). Hence the reason it is so un-reliable. Also, is NOT a CARRIER, it is an AIRCRAFT CAPABLE HEAVY MISSILE CRIUSER.

Brokenspine66
Brokenspine66
Reply to  BobValdez
June 21, 2020

The Chinese bought the ‘Soviet’ carrier half build because the Ukrainians couldn’t finish it because all resources [funds + materials] vanished into some shady channels pockets + coffers or off-shore accounts a usual occurrence in Ukraine.
 

Last edited 4 months ago by Brokenspine66
Where am I?
Where am I?
Reply to  Brokenspine66
June 21, 2020

Biden loves that sort of stuff. Turning sows’ ears into his own personal piggy bank is the stuff of family legend.

A stinkweed by any other name...
A stinkweed by any other name...
Reply to  BobValdez
June 21, 2020

It’s not THE Ukraine. It’s THE Banderastan. 🙂

Brokenspine66
Brokenspine66
Reply to  Sue Rarick
June 21, 2020

You realise that most AmeriCunt Carrier are way older?

Hmph
Hmph
Reply to  Sue Rarick
June 21, 2020

What a sourpuss.

Stj
Stj
Reply to  Sue Rarick
June 22, 2020

Well Pompeo is having talks with the Chinese in Hawaii this weekend over acquiring the 5th generation technology since Huawei holds most of the world patents, but I hazard a guess this never makes it in the US free press. Talk about dated technology just look at the F35, it still cant fly.

US foreign policy on auto-pilot
US foreign policy on auto-pilot
Reply to  jrkrideau
June 21, 2020

They’ll give the contract to Bezos under the clever guise of delivering Amazon packages to the Inuit. Musk offered to build auto-piloted, electric powered ice breakers but he was declared not russophobic enough for the USN.

William H Warrick III
William H Warrick III
June 20, 2020

Where will get the crews to run them? By 2029 Russia will build a a couple dozen Nuclear ones that won’t break down like ours do and will spend a tenth per ship of what we spend.

Sue Rarick
Sue Rarick
Reply to  William H Warrick III
June 20, 2020

Correct on the crews – After the US’s 20+ years of war the military is recruiting illegals and getting them Green cards.
At the rate the US is going any war with Russia will have green card Hispanics fighting the Russians.

Ha.....
Ha.....
Reply to  Sue Rarick
June 21, 2020

Almost right. It’ll be foreign and native gang bangers offered the choice of ten years in jail or cannon fodder amnesty that’ll be doing the heavy lifting. If it’s a murder rap, they get immediate officer status as a bonus.

Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark
Reply to  William H Warrick III
June 22, 2020

Given a few more 100 deg F days in Siberia, by 2029 Russia won’t need them.

Anthony Enos Wicher
June 20, 2020

What do we need icebreakers? According to the global warmists, the Arctic Ocean melted years ago.
 

Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark
Reply to  Anthony Enos Wicher
June 22, 2020

Be careful what you wish for.

michael Houston
michael Houston
June 20, 2020

let’s see….we had two…..then we scraped one which left us with one….and now we want to catch up to Russia….Wow….

Robert O'Regan
Robert O'Regan
June 20, 2020

Well, we bought flame-up submarines from the UK, why not make up for “not buying?” the flying brick (F-35) by buying the American ‘submersible’ (Titanic Emulator) to clog up the Northwest Passage?

Chris
Chris
June 20, 2020

This is all about the Northwest Passage transit route. 2029? The world will be a different place by then.

Sue Rarick
Sue Rarick
June 20, 2020

Solution for a quick build up – Ask the Russian’s if they have any used Icebreakers they want to sell

Brokenspine66
Brokenspine66
Reply to  Sue Rarick
June 21, 2020

At one of the last arctic NATO-Mafia drills USN ships were absent because they feared if one ship broke down they had call the Russians for help.
 

Last edited 4 months ago by Brokenspine66
Brokenspine66
Brokenspine66
June 20, 2020

Another deluded pipedream like the ‘Space Force’ – Pathetic.

Beydety
Beydety
June 21, 2020

This is laughable. The JUSA will be irrelevant soon enough.

Hmmm
Hmmm
June 21, 2020

I think it’d be far more typical and honest of the US to announce plans for a fleet of freezer ships, to follow Russian icebreakers and freeze the channel back up in their wake.

Ha Ha
Ha Ha
Reply to  Hmmm
June 22, 2020

Where’d you get a prepub copy of Bolton’s book?

Brokenspine66
Brokenspine66
Reply to  Ha Ha
June 22, 2020

Don’t worry Bolton himself will probably leak it himself in every filesharing platform known to man just in case Trump manage to prevent it from publishing or selling because it would block his revenge spree with BS + made up stories and/or some real tit bits about the orange baboon and mafia-thug pompeo, but mainly that his backstabbing and soiling attemps didn’t go unnoticed.
 

Last edited 4 months ago by Brokenspine66

Bolton Might Miss Out On All Profits From His Tell-All Book

Biden’s chance in 2020