US Coast Guard Adds Cruise Missiles To Ice-Breakers As Battle For The Arctic Begins

The United States Coast Guard is preparing to equip icebreaker vessels operating in the Arctic region with high-tech cruise missiles for the first time as Washington escalates geopolitical tensions with Russia.

 

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Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft confirmed last week that the Coast Guard’s newest fleet of heavy icebreakers would be designed to carry cruise missiles, the Washingon Times reported.

In recent times, the Coast Guard has suggested that it would adopt heavy weapon systems for its vessels operating in the Arctic, but with the latest announcement from Zukunft, he has now confirmed the weapons race between Washington and Moscow has begun in the fight for the Arctic.

“If you look at what Russia is doing, there’s almost a mini arms buildup going on in the Arctic,” USCG Vice Adm. Fred Midgette told CBS in December. Russia operates at least 40 icebreakers with six heavy icebreakers, CBS News reported in December.

Former Navy Capt. Jerry Hendrix, a senior associate at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, said, “this is not just about [new] icebreakers; this is part of a broader competition just below the surface.”

Opponents believe the Coast Guard is trying to take advantage of the rising tensions between Washington and Moscow so that it can arm its icebreakers with unnecessary amounts of expensive high-tech weaponry. Zukunft has denied these claims, arguing that natural resources underneath the water are a national security threat if waterways open up allowing other countries to tap into cheap energy.

Over the years, the Coast Guard has neglected to maintain its Arctic fleet of just three icebreakers. Meanwhile, Russia has a fleet of at-least forty icebreakers, including “four operational nuclear-powered icebreakers and 16 medium-sized craft,” the Washington Times said.

It is important to note, the Coast Guard’s new icebreakers will not be ready until 2023 and could cost around $1 billion. This price tag would include six new icebreakers.

We’ve been able to find offsets to drive the cost down … [and] reserve the space weight and power necessary to fully weaponize these and make these a capable platform offensively in the event this world changes in the next five, 10, even 15 years from now,” Adm. Zukunft said.

Sputnik provides an embarrassing operational update of the Coast Guard’s icebreaker fleet:

The US has three icebreakers, but only one is not operational, the USCGC Polar Sea. The heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star, the Polar Sea’s sister ship, and medium icebreaker USCGC Healy are the only working vessels of their kind in the US fleet, and Healy’s duties are primarily restricted to scientific work, according to Business Insider.

The Polar Star’s task is to keep navigation lanes open in the Arctic and Antarctic. After more than 40 years of service, though, the vessel is “literally on life support,” Zukunft has said. The ship’s captain has said the Polar Star’s computers are so old he has to go on Ebay to find antique replacements.

 

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While the situation in the Arctic presents many difficulties for Washington and its allies in the region, the U.S. has unofficially kicked off a weapons race with Russia for the control of the Arctic and its vast natural resource reserves with the decision to strap cruise missiles to its icebreakers.

For Washington to pursue this policy, it will only cause other countries in the region to arm their ships with high-tech weapons and turn the Arctic region into the next South China Sea.

Comments

Parrotile serotonindumptruck Mon, 01/22/2018 - 19:53 Permalink

The Cruise Missiles are for use when the pack ice is too thick. Means the USCG can save on ship design and construction costs.

"Ice too thick? Launch a missile at it" - after all they are cheap, and the Taxpayer picks up the tab anyhow 

The cost of the Tomahawk has long been an issue. The Navy, according to a public fact sheet on its website, places the price tag of a Block IV missile at $569,000, but that's in fiscal year 1999 dollars. However, Rob Koon, a spokesman for the Navy, on Wednesday placed the current price tag at $1.41 million. (Dated Mar 25, 2011).

:-)

In reply to by serotonindumptruck

Winston Churchill Parrotile Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:51 Permalink

You have to wonder if they will even work in those conditions.The hull plunges while breaking the ice

will screw up electronics quicker than you can say cruise missile.The ice buildup has to be constantly

removed from the superstructure just to prevent capsize.Keeping missile tubes ice free to launch,well

good luck with that.I wouldn't suggest heating them unless you want to die.

The Germans who over engineer everything, got a rude surprise with the extreme Russian winter.

Nothing would work properly, if at all, while all the Russian made equipment had few problems.

In reply to by Parrotile

MK ULTRA Alpha serotonindumptruck Tue, 01/23/2018 - 00:26 Permalink

There are enormous hydrocarbon deposits in the Arctic Circle. Russian strategy is to build island bases, increase military assets and to use Chinese investment for  building hydrocarbon production infrastructure.  And most important to the West, the Russian military build up is to provide security for a greater claim to Arctic territory. A hypothetical scenario would be a Russian hydrocarbon discovery which competes with Norway's territorial claims. That's not hypothetical, it's happening now.

On shore and off shore Alaska and Canada have the same enormous hydrocarbon reservoirs as northern Siberia. In northern Canada, there are regions with great hydrocarbon deposits. The barrier to development is investment.

Both northern Alaska and Canada are important assets. Legacy pipeline/production infrastructure and new pipeline/production infrastructure investment, and off shore production platforms, must be protected because of the growing importance of this region to national security.

It's an understatement to say, and to say out loud, there is a minimum 60 to 100 billion barrels of oil in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic Circle and northern coastal regions. And besides traditional reservoir production, this region has the same shale formations as the lower 48. But larger with huge natural gas production potential.

One of the inputs for greater pipeline investment in the Arctic Circle region is the US demand for natural gas. Natural gas deposits in the Arctic Circle, like the oil deposits are three times proven US reserves of natural gas.

We need more investment in the systems to provide security and rescue in the US and Canadian Arctic Circle.  It would be wise to continue the US military build up and training in the Arctic Circle region. Increasing capital expenditure for force sustainability and mobility in Alaska is way over due.

In reply to by serotonindumptruck

shitshitshit MK ULTRA Alpha Tue, 01/23/2018 - 01:31 Permalink

 The real problem with arctic Ocean is ice. You can't put an offshore drilling platform one ice because ice moves day after day, therefore your drill will be torn and broken in a matter of only days and nobody can do anything against that. The solution has yet to be found. All the posturing in arctic seas is just to secure the fields, or rather secure the continental shelf because oil and gas have still to be found. 

It's where Russians might have a hedge against the rest of the world, since their engineering is always simple, efficient and robust. 

Let's see what happens. 

In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha

any_mouse Justin Case Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:01 Permalink

Cold War 2.0

Fucking retarded. A USCG cutter/ice breaker may get the shot off before it is vaporized. That is if its electronics don't go TITSUP.

Coasties would just be sacrificial lambs for the MICC to deploy the real war fighting machinery. Trip wires.

They can fulfill that role with less expensive craft that are good at ice breaking and rescue.

USMC pawns are in place in Norway.

Will the USA MICC be able to simultaneously sustain combat operations in North Atlantic, Central Asia, MENA, PACWEST and the Arctic? And for how long with the PetroDollar.

In reply to by Justin Case

MrPalladium any_mouse Tue, 01/23/2018 - 00:05 Permalink

" Coasties would just be sacrificial lambs for the MICC to deploy the real war fighting machinery. Trip wires."

How is this any different from the small units of army men stationed all around the world and close to Russian and Chinese borders.

They are all bait, just like I was when stationed in Berlin in 1970. 10,000 of us surrounded by 250,000 Russians.

Bait tethered to the stake.

In reply to by any_mouse

silverer Mon, 01/22/2018 - 18:59 Permalink

Hey, I have a great idea. Let's stop wasting time posturing and let's just have the war. What a war it will be. Everybody launching everything they built in the last 40 years that they could never afford in the first place, all to prove who has the largest penis, when the official line is to feminize all men anyway. I can't think of a better way to feminize men than to blow their balls off. Go ahead and launch. I'm sick of all the posturing and threats. You stupid fucks just can't wait to hit the button, so just go ahead and make yourselves so happy and press it. I hope you all glow in the dark for days and vomit yourselves to death. Peace is for pussies, death is for cool people.

Bemused Observer nmewn Tue, 01/23/2018 - 15:44 Permalink

As much as I admire our Russian friends (and their women are lovely), there's no getting around the fact that the men are NOT as a rule a 'pretty' bunch. These are not a 'decorative' men, they are a structural, load bearing men. A surprising number of them, especially in the police and military forces, don't even have NECKS. Their heads just pop out of the mass of shoulder muscles like a mushroom. And so many "big" features, many look almost as if they have a touch of acromegaly, or some Neanderthal genes..."Hulk SMASH!"

Yeah, we have big guys too, but they often look 'roid big' and gym-polished, they seem to put a lot of effort into achieving the look. The Russians, on the other hand, look like this is just the way they look, like, if they were home taking college poetry classes they'd be squeezed into a tiny chair in a classroom with the exact same huge no-neck bodies.

In reply to by nmewn

Omen IV Mon, 01/22/2018 - 19:01 Permalink

The Russians do not need Cruise missiles on their Ice Breakers - they can launch from 1,000 miles a away as they did off of Frigates in the Caspian Sea to Syria and the USS Aircraft Carrier went back to North fork.

 

 @$160mm  apiece new - ill bet the Russians are in the water for half that

JohninMK Omen IV Mon, 01/22/2018 - 19:06 Permalink

The US only has a tiny amount of Arctic coastline, north of Alaska. Compare that to Canada's let alone Russia's.

Probably a very good reason for the disparity in numbers of ice breakers. Also the Russians are working hard to establish the North East Passage (as opposed to the North West Passage on top of Canada) as a major sea route from Asia to Europe. That's why they need so many icebreakers.

In reply to by Omen IV

just the tip JohninMK Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:29 Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd1Zgt2lycY&t=1836s

this is a very lengthy video, but just a few minutes in you can get the gist of what is going on there.  this is a german project and commercial as well.  the only problem i see is the nuclear phobia.  this vessel should be nuke powered.  the rooskies will be nuke powered.  they are wanting to provide an option for the OBOR it looks like.  opening up the northeast passage for freight to go from asia to europe via the northeast passage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear-powered_icebreaker

In reply to by JohninMK