Another reason why the US needs to build some serious new bigassed icebreakers


[QUOTE=Tups;137332]edit: While I’m happy that the NSF is getting a new icebreaking research vessel this year, this does not sound very promising:[/QUOTE]

SIKULIAQ is no icebreaker…ice strengthened maybe but not built to break anything except maybe down


[QUOTE=c.captain;137352]SIKULIAQ is no icebreaker…ice strengthened maybe but not built to break anything except maybe down[/QUOTE]

I remembered that her icebreaking performance was in par with some other recent polar research vessels, but turns out she was considerably less capable (2½ feet at 2 knots). However, I think that’s mainly due to lack of power - she still has a real icebreaker bow and her ice class is PC-5, the same as that of S. A. Agulhas II. It almost seems as if they wanted to make her more capable but for some reason decided against and went with the moped engines…


[QUOTE=Tups;137354]I remembered that her icebreaking performance was in par with some other recent polar research vessels, but turns out she was considerably less capable (2½ feet at 2 knots). However, I think that’s mainly due to lack of power - she still has a real icebreaker bow and her ice class is PC-5, the same as that of S. A. Agulhas II. It almost seems as if they wanted to make her more capable but for some reason decided against and went with the moped engines…


In other words, the National Science Foundation screwed up.

For this reason, and to get our new icebreakers built more quickly, we should buy the best existing design with minimal modifications and start welding.

There is no reason to invest billions of dollars in a massive welfare program for defense contractors over 5 years that has about a 50% chance turning into another massive design screw up.


The icebreaking capability was probably specified quite early in the design process, so I don’t think they designed a vessel that in the end couldn’t achieve its design ice performance. It was, after all, tested in an ice tank (slide 9) to verify the performance before the construction started. However, without knowing the design decisions, we don’t know why they adopted certain features.

As for a new USCG icebreaker, I still think the best way would be to team up with the Canadians.


[QUOTE=Tups;137383]The icebreaking capability was probably specified quite early in the design process, so I don’t think they designed a vessel that in the end couldn’t achieve its design ice performance. It was, after all, tested in an ice tank (slide 9) to verify the performance before the construction started. However, without knowing the design decisions, we don’t know why they adopted certain features.

As for a new USCG icebreaker, I still think the best way would be to team up with the Canadians.[/QUOTE]

Why not just wait to see how the new Aker designed icebreaker performs for the Russians?

If that proves out to be a good vessel, that design should be more than enough meet most of our actual icebreaking needs. No need to reinvent the wheel. If that turns out to be a successful icebreaker, we should buy the plans form Aker and hire them to come to the US and show us how to build half a dozen of them. In fact, I would not have a problem with a wavier to allow the first two to be built in Finland. The most important thing is to do it right. The second most important thing is to get them quickly. If that means buying a proven foreign design and learning how to build them by building the first two in Finland, that’s ok.


[QUOTE=tugsailor;137392]Why not just wait to see how the new Aker designed icebreaker performs for the Russians?[/QUOTE]

While the medium-sized LK-25 utilizes the hybrid propulsion system (two azimuth thrusters and one shaftline) developed by Aker Arctic in Finland, the rest of the ship was designed by Petrobalt Design Bureau in Russia. The other large icebreakers currently under construction in or for Russia (both the smaller LK-16s and the nuclear LK-60s) are of Russian design with little to no “foreign content” and thus follow the Russian icebreaker design philosophy in e.g. hull form and internal arrangement. Thus, there is no “Aker designed icebreaker” entering service in Russia in the near future.

The reason why I’m proposing teaming up with the Canadians is that they already have a concept for probably the best polar icebreaker designed to this date, incorporating both operational experience of such vessels from their side as well as Finnish icebreaker know-how for hull form, propulsion, winterization etc. It also does not have any “unproven technology” (the Russians have been using Azipods in the Arctic for a long time) and the vessel has been shown to fulfill the icebreaking requirements in an ice tank. Even if the internal design had to be modified for USCG needs, the additional design work should not take that long. In fact, it does not actually take that long to design an icebreaker from scratch if you know what you want, but the problem might be that if the USCG does not have a “wish list” ready, it will take ages to come up with one and process the proposed concept with such heavy organization. And even if that’s not enough, there’s the funding issue…

You can read more about the recent polar icebreakers on pages 8-12 of this newsletter.


I know I might be spamming a bit, but this chapter of the news release is quite interesting:

In fact, the concept designers at Aker Arctic Technology and ILS [B]were instructed to select the industry’s most advanced technologies[/B] to meet icebreaking conditions in the Baltic Sea year-round, and to perform open sea oil spill response and towing duties in summer and winter. Basic design of the vessel is done by Arctech. Once operational, the new vessel is expected to attract worldwide attention to Finnish arctic expertise.

Central to the vessel’s performance expectations will be its three-pod propulsion solution, with a 6MW Azipod unit at the bow and two 6.5MW units at the stern included to optimize efficiency and maneuverability in ice-ridge conditions in particular.

The bolded section is something I’d also expect from the US Coast Guard instead of sticking to “well-proven” designs because “this is how it has been always done”. I mean, if you want to be the best…


now the GAO weighs in on the Arctic and the anemic US presence

[B]GAO: U.S. Can Do Better on Arctic Policy[/B]

By MarEx May 19, 2014

The U.S. needs a better strategy to coordinate and prioritize its policies related to the Arctic region, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study out today that was released by Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Tim Bishop (NY-01), John Garamendi (CA-03) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK).

The GAO study focused on U.S. participation in the Arctic Council, a voluntary body started in 1996 that includes the eight Arctic nations—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S., as well as indigenous groups and other stakeholders. The State Department leads participation for the U.S.

The U.S. has not prioritized its commitments to the Arctic Council and is limited in its ability to respond to emergencies in the Arctic region, the report found. As sea ice melts, making way for increased commercial activity, the report recommends a stronger strategy for U.S. participation in the Arctic Council and better process to track progress toward achieving Council goals.

Larsen introduced a bill with Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) last month to establish a U.S. Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs and has strongly supported additional investments in icebreakers.

“The Arctic is the Northwest Passage of the 21st century, but today’s GAO report is another sign that the U.S. is falling behind in Arctic policy. With next year’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, it’s time we appointed an ambassador to this important body. We also need to make investments in infrastructure like icebreakers to maintain a strong presence in this increasingly important region. Our country has major commercial, environmental and security interests in the region and we should start prioritizing them,” Congressman Larsen said.

“If the United States hopes to maintain its presence in the Arctic, it is time to get serious about the region. The GAO report clearly points out that there is much more we could be doing to protect our interests, both economic and security-related. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to explore how we can better prioritize our Arctic policies,” Congressman Bishop said.

“A warming climate that is opening up the Arctic to commercial shipping, the intense global competition for energy resources, and the absence of a comprehensive and binding international Arctic management regime are threatening to turn this emerging region into the Wild West. It is imperative that we avoid that scenario. Accordingly, the United States should demonstrate purposeful leadership within the Arctic Council to advance U.S. interests and obligations. We should also ensure that federal agencies involved in the Arctic, especially the United States Coast Guard, have a coordinated game plan and sufficient resources to meet these challenges,” Congressman Garamendi said.

“This GAO report underlines and highlights the core threat to America’s future as an Arctic nation: we’re late in carrying out a needed path ahead and we need our agencies to work together as we move forward. This is one of the reasons we need an Arctic Ambassador with the authority to make decisions, and coordinate and oversee projects as we’re at this crucial juncture. The United States will be chairing the Arctic Council starting next year, which will either be an opportunity to highlight our leadership, or undermine it depending on our government’s approach,” Senator Murkowski said.

OK…let’s build some REAL icebreakers NOW!


Here’s a more important reason…

Czar Vlad plans to own the Arctic unless nations stand up to the megalomaniac!




Would this new 19MW Finnish icebreaker (designed for the Baltic) be suitable for Alaska?

How would this new design compare to the old Polar Star in terms of icebreaking ability?


According to the tree-huggers, icebreakers will be obsolete in a few years anyway with all the global warming and the ice melting.


Why do you think Shell was up there? Less ice. Look at the NASA images.


[QUOTE=tugsailor;137966]Would this new 19MW Finnish icebreaker (designed for the Baltic) be suitable for Alaska?

How would this new design compare to the old Polar Star in terms of icebreaking ability?[/QUOTE]

In theory, nothing would prevent you from using this kind of vessel in Alaska. However, in my opinion it’s not the optimal solution for that particular region due to the presence of multi-year ice floes and as well as rough seas.

The new Finnish icebreaker is optimized for escort operations in the Baltic Sea where the first-year ice rarely grows thicker than about 3 feet but the ice cover is highly deformed and the ridges can reach all the way to the seafloor. This requires high maneuverability in ice when operating in close proximity to other vessels, ability to penetrate ridged ice fields without stopping while towing another vessel and maintain high escort speed in thick brash ice that forms in heavily-trafficked shipping channels (example and another and one more). Many of the new features, such as the 2+1 Azipod propulsion system, come from the engineers’ wish to create a superior Baltic escort icebreaker. Based on the information available, I’m quite sure they succeeded.

While Azipods have been used in the Arctic for nearly ten years without incidents, vessels fitted with such propulsion system operate at limited speed when sailing stern-first in ice. However, polar icebreakers have to be strong enough to hit a multi-year ice floe at a relatively high speed and that’s something the bow-mounted Azipod unit simply can not take. For this reason, instead of fitting one azimuth thruster in the bow I’d go for a hybrid arrangement with 3 propellers in the stern of which 1-2 would be Azipod units. Such vessel would operate bow-first in polar ice packs, but it could also operate stern-first e.g. in ridged fields and generally have superior maneuverability in comparison to conventional designs. Of course, you could also go for three azimuthing propulsion units…

Another issue with Alaska is the fact that the seas around it are quite rough. We all saw what happened to Aiviq and Kulluk. While icebreakers are not generally unsafe, they are “over-stable” and hence their operational capability in high seas is limited. While the new Finnish icebreaker should be an improvement to some earlier vessels, some of which are notoriously uncomfortable in waves, it’s still primarily intended for ice-covered waters. Transit through the Bering Strait would be an interesting experience. If I were to design an icebreaker for Alaska, I’d probably pay a bit more attention to the open water characteristics.

It is quite difficult to compare the new Finnish icebreaker to the USCG Polar-class icebreakers because the vessels are designed for completely different purposes and, to be honest, I don’t even know what’s the actual icebreaking capability of the American ship. Sure, they say things like “six feet at three knots” and “21 feet with backing and ramming”, but I’m quite sure the former is an understatement and the latter is someone’s wet dream. If I had to guess, I’d say that the American icebreaker would win a straight-line race in level ice or at least get slightly ahead before the propulsion system broke down. However, if the ice was deformed, stacked and packed into ridges, the Finnish vessel would eat its way through while the Polar Star would have to continously back up, accelerate and ram the ice pack. Comparing the maneuverability of the two vessels would be like comparing NASCAR to Formula 1…

[QUOTE=txwooley;137967]According to the tree-huggers, icebreakers will be obsolete in a few years anyway with all the global warming and the ice melting.[/QUOTE]

While there will be definitely less ice in the future, it does not mean that the ice is completely gone anytime soon. New icebreakers are still needed, perhaps more than ever.

In the Baltic Sea, the climate change may even make the ice conditions more severe for shipping. While the ice won’t grow as thick as in the past, stronger winds will pack it against the shoreline, resulting in conditions that are in fact more difficult for ships than unbroken level ice.


Obviously, I know nothing about icebreakers and just a bit about Arctic ice.

The first thing to figure out is: What do we want an icebreaker to do? To me, being able to go to the pole in February is not important. There is no good reason to do that, except to say that we did. I am more interested in being able to patrol the coast of Alaska, assist vessels, and manage ice around US economic activities during an extended navigation season of roughly May to early December. To my knowledge, there is no multi-year ice left on the Alaska continental shelf, or within at least 100 miles of shore. As I understand it, there is not much ice over 1 meter thick in February, and most of the ice (what little there is) in the summer is closer to 1 inch thick. Of course there are ice ridges.

We call “over-stable” — “too stiff.” The short rolling period makes for an uncomfortable ride. The opposite condition we call “too tender” with a long rolling period. Obviously, a vessel with a very heavy hull and no cargo up high is going to be quite stiff. There may be ways to mitigate that. Of course ice covered waters are calm. There is no reason for a well run icebreaker to pick the worst possible open water transit route, as Aiviq did, or to proceed from the shelter of the ice or the land into well forecast heavy weather, as Aiviq did. I think it is safe to say that anyone who chooses to repeat Aiviq’s mistakes is looking for trouble. However, we should not strive to build an idiot-proof icebreaker. We should be able to assume that it will be intelligently operated by people with some competence… I’m not sure how important superior open water performance would really be in Alaska.

I am not interested in hearing about 20 year lead times. Let’s just buy a modern off the shelf design and build it now. The US should build the first few icebreakers at an experienced yard in Finland so that we can get them as soon as possible.


[QUOTE=tugsailor;137997]I am not interested in hearing about 20 year lead times. Let’s just buy a modern off the shelf design and build it now.[/QUOTE]

Contrary to popular belief, it won’t take long to design an icebreaker, even a completely new design with features that have never been tried before in icebreakers:

Due to the above issues, the initial delivery date was set from the last quarter of 2015 to the winter of 2016. Still, less than a year for the conceptual design, including model tests, and about two years for building the vessel.

The key to the short lead time was that the customer knew what he wanted - there was a detailed list of requirements for vessel capability. The problem with USCG is that their procurement process is completely different and even an off-the-shelf design would have to be thoroughly evaluated. In that sense, it would probably be better to design an icebreaker “from the scratch” for their specific needs and requirements instead of trying to get an existing concept accepted.

While I still disagree that this kind of vessel would be a good choice for Alaska, it would be perfect for the Great Lakes in case someone wanted to extend the icebreaking season there.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;137997]The first thing to figure out is: What do we want an icebreaker to do?[/QUOTE]

Quite often, a customer comes in with a bucket full of wishes from different institutions and organizations, and wants to have everything in the same hull. When he is told the cost of building and operating such vessel, he starts emptying the bucket until only the core missions remain on the bottom. I hope USCG would pass this phase and, at least with the first vessels of the series, concentrate on designing a “workhorse” that can perform its primary tasks with the same efficiency as its open-water counterparts (offshore patrol cutters or whatever they are called over there). Of course, an icebreaker would probably be able to perform some unique tasks as well, for example escorting merchant ships through the ice field like USCGC Healy did in Nome couple of years ago.

As for stability and stiffness, modern icebreakers generally have their generators on the main deck instead of inside the hull to reduce the metacentric height. They also say that the reason why Fennica and Nordica have a large swimming pool high in the superstructure is to reduce the stiffness of the vessel, but I don’t think that was intentional. However, active and passive anti-rolling tanks work quite well.

If you wanted superior open water performance, you could take the stern of a double-acting icebreaker (such as those built in Finland for the Russian oil fields) and combine it with an X-bow…


nice that the USN recognizes the importance of the Arctic to US security

[B]The U.S. Navy and the Arctic[/B]

By MarEx December 09, 2014

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus met with senior research personnel and faculty members at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) on December 5 to discuss the role of the U.S. Navy in the arctic.

“We in the Navy have a particular interest (in the arctic) because our responsibilities increase as the arctic changes,” said Mabus. “As sea levels rise, as ice melts, our role in terms of freedom of navigation, in terms of search and rescue and in terms of scientific exploration, increases pretty dramatically.”

Home to the International Arctic Research Center, UAF’s unique location makes it especially well situated to serve as a hub of research for areas such as the integration and coordination of the study of the arctic and the impact of climate change on this dynamic region.

“One of the main reasons I came here was to hear about this flagship university, and from its resident experts, how we might partner outside our existing Office of Naval Research (ONR) projects, in arctic research,” said Mabus. “The arctic is only going to gain importance, particularly for the U.S. Navy.”

Currently, ONR has three major projects on the Alaska side of the Arctic Ocean, including seasonal ice zone reconnaissance surveys.

As the United States prepares to take over chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015, Mabus’ visit to Fairbanks underscored the importance the U.S. Navy places on the arctic, not just in the short term, but through 2030 and beyond.

Previously this year, Mabus visited Sweden, Finland and Norway in an effort to strengthen relationships with these fellow Arctic Council nations.

“What we’re trying to do through building these partnerships,” Mabus said, “is to do some things now that will allow us to be prepared. As the arctic changes, we have to maintain the ability to be where we’re needed, when we’re needed. To have that presence, you cannot surge it, you cannot wait for an emergency, you have to be ready.”

The U.S. Navy’s focus on the arctic is expected to become more prominent over the coming years.

“The arctic is becoming increasingly important, not just for us, not just for the members of the arctic council, but also for the world,” said Mabus.



Agreed. Prudent.


Something for c.captain:


[QUOTE=Tups;149808]Something for c.captain:[/QUOTE]

thank you man but it is so bittersweet that this comes as the Navee announces building yet more aluminum cans


here’s that article…SPOT FUCKING ON!

[B][U]Breaking the Ice: Why the United States Needs Nuclear-Powered Icebreakers[/U][/B]

By Milosz Reterski December 11, 2014

The United States needs more icebreakers. The country has a growing national interest in the Arctic, and its relations with Russia, a dominant force in the region, are increasingly chilly. Yet Washington is woefully unprepared for the Arctic challenge when it comes to one crucial tool: the mighty nuclear-powered vessels that would support its economic and security objectives in the high north.

Because of a receding icecap, the Arctic is becoming increasingly accessible for exploration and transit. For the United States and other Arctic nations, this development offers significant new opportunities, from previously unavailable shipping routes to yet untapped natural resources. It also comes with fresh risks—it’s a new arena for potential geopolitical competition—and additional responsibilities: managing the remote but increasingly crowded space.

In all these respects, nuclear icebreakers—that is, ships that are powered by a nuclear reactor and designed to clear paths through the ice for other ships to follow—are indispensable. Nuclear propulsion is extremely efficient, allowing such an icebreaker to go decades before it requires refueling. (A conventional U.S. Navy destroyer that deploys to the Arctic runs out of fuel by the time it reaches Alaska.) Nuclear icebreakers are also more capable than conventional vessels of producing the thrust necessary for cleaving ten-foot-thick ice for sustained periods of time. A nuclear icebreaker on its toughest workday burns through a single pound of uranium, whereas a conventionally powered ship would require about a hundred tons of diesel for the same job.

In terms of both conventional and nuclear icebreakers, Russia is the world’s uncontested leader. It maintains a fleet of 40 ships and is currently the only country that has nuclear-powered icebreakers, with four such vessels of the heaviest class operating in the Arctic. Eleven more icebreakers are in development or planning stages, including the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker, scheduled for completion in 2017.

The United States, by contrast, has only two conventional icebreakers in service, and only one of them is suitable for sustained Arctic operations: the Coast Guard cutter Polar Star, which is tasked mostly with conducting scientific missions and supporting research in Antarctica. Moreover, the Polar Star is already nearly a decade past its planned retirement age. The United States urgently needs to develop a new icebreaker class and create the next-generation fleet of nuclear icebreakers and ice-hardened conventional ships to buttress its standing in the world’s crucial frontier region.


Until now, Washington’s policy toward the Arctic has been a lesser priority than pressing concerns in other parts of the world. But the Arctic will need to start taking precedence if the United States wants to become a leader in the region’s development and defend its interests there.

First, a stronger icebreaker fleet is essential for taking full advantage of the shipping opportunities opening up in the Arctic. New transit routes across the top of the globe promise to slash fuel consumption of cargo ships by up to one-half compared with the traditional East–West journey via the Suez Canal. Three new Arctic shipping routes are emerging: along Russia’s northern shoreline; directly across the North Pole (known as the Transpolar Sea Route); and through Arctic Canada (known as the Northwest Passage).

The Arctic’s receding ice makes nuclear-powered icebreakers more critical, not less. That’s because ice-free waters will remain a seasonal phenomenon. By 2030, fully navigable open water conditions—defined as ice coverage of less than ten percent—are expected to occur for short intervals of a month or two, peaking around September. Surrounding these intervals will be shoulder periods lasting up to five weeks, when ice covers ten to 40 percent of the water surface. As countries come to rely on the Arctic shipping routes, these shoulder periods, too, will see increased commercial traffic. In these periods in particular, nuclear-powered icebreakers will be necessary to ensure safe passage for all vessels.

Second, nuclear icebreakers would improve the U.S. ability to explore and extract energy from the region. The Arctic holds vast undiscovered hydrocarbon reserves, estimated at over eight billion barrels of natural gas liquids, 66 billion barrels of oil, and over 1,600 trillion cubic feet of gas, making the Arctic five times richer in hydrocarbons than the Pacific Ocean. The deposits located within the U.S. territorial zones alone could exceed $1 trillion in value. Nuclear-powered icebreakers would make it easier for exploration and extraction teams to access these resources and deliver them to market and would provide assistance and coordination in the case of accidents.

Third, as competition for natural resources accelerates, nuclear icebreakers would strengthen Washington’s hand when it comes to geopolitics and security. Although the primary U.S. objectives in the Arctic are deterring conflict and fostering international cooperation, Washington must remain ready to respond to any security challenges that could arise there in the future. A recent report by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence warned that competition over the positioning of military forces in the Arctic could soon intensify, and Russia’s recent incursions into northern European airspace and territorial waters may be an indication of things to come. Already, bilateral military exercises have been canceled, and the U.S. Navy has simulated attacks on Russian submarines as part of its Arctic training exercises.

Moreover, Russia considers the Arctic a strategic priority and views its maritime territorial claims there through a military lens, not simply an economic one. In the midst of the standoff with the West over Ukraine this past April, Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted his commitment to “regain” and “qualitatively strengthen” Russia’s military positions in the Arctic. To that end, Moscow has established a new strategic command center for the region and has deployed its largest battle cruiser there. Building U.S. nuclear icebreakers, in combination with the development of maritime facilities north of the Aleutian Islands, would help Washington balance this advantage.

Nuclear-powered icebreakers would also extend the Arctic reach of the Aegis fleet—U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers capable of ballistic missile defense. The fleet must be able to quickly travel to any theater of operations, especially in light of the growing ballistic missile threat posed by China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. Right now, Aegis cruisers can sustain only limited operations north of the Arctic Circle, but a U.S. Navy nuclear icebreaker would allow a true forward presence.

Fourth, nuclear icebreakers would become a major asset in search-and-rescue operations, the need for which may well increase. The arduous search for the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean shed light on the tremendous logistic challenges of conducting such operations outside major shipping lanes. Many intercontinental flights skirt the Arctic, and a few routes connecting Asia with North America fly directly over the North Pole. Meanwhile, with an increase in shipping through the Arctic Circle, the risks of something going amiss in the area only grow. Yet the United States remains unprepared for major search-and-recovery operations north of the Bering Strait, even though Washington took responsibility for nearly a million square miles of inhospitable ocean in a 2011 international treaty.

U.S. Arctic search-and-rescue assets are very limited. In the entire state of Alaska, the Coast Guard maintains a fleet of just six patrol boats and two cutters—all stationed south of the Aleutian Islands—and only around 15 helicopters dedicated to search and rescue. A nuclear-powered icebreaker, deployed on an extended basis to the Alaskan Arctic waters with two rescue helicopters, would provide a much-needed forward presence for operations and coordination.


It’s past time for the United States to close the icebreaker gap. Accomplishing this feat would require significant resources and effort, but this investment is certain to pay off in the long run. Although it costs more to build a nuclear icebreaker than a conventional vessel—and operating it would require an additional $1 billion over its lifetime—the greater sustained access to the Arctic that the United States would receive in return more than justifies the costs.

In the near term, the U.S. Navy should start by designing a new class of nuclear-powered icebreakers, with the goal of deploying the first one in the next decade. In the interim, the navy should increase its Arctic surface deployments using conventional icebreakers (borrowing them from Washington’s regional partners if necessary), in order to develop a deeper familiarity with such operations. To support the expanding icebreaker fleet, work should also begin on constructing a deep-draft port facility in northern Alaska.

Once the first nuclear-powered icebreaker is completed, it should be permanently deployed to the Alaskan Arctic under the joint operation of the Navy and the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard would be responsible for the traditional tasks related to search and rescue, patrolling, and sea lane management. The navy would provide the technical expertise for the operation of the nuclear reactor on the ship and, through its involvement in the mission, signal that Washington takes the Arctic Ocean seriously. Meanwhile, construction would start on the second and third nuclear-powered icebreakers, whose subsequent deployment would allow for a wider range of missions and greater flexibility in scheduling maintenance.

What’s clear is that as the stakes continue to rise, continuous inaction will prove disastrous in the long run. On the other hand, new nuclear-powered icebreakers would become the flagships of the United States’ strong naval presence in Arctic waters and a symbol of its position of power in the region.