The dominance of American military power is undeniable. Everywhere, except for one region, which unexpectedly for the USA turned out to be again incredibly important in strategic importance. This is, of course, about the Arctic.
In the days of the Cold War, the Arctic was the site of active confrontation between the USSR and the United States, since the shortest distance passed through the Far North for the flight of strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. In the nineties, the Russian authorities abandoned the arctic military infrastructure, leaving airfields, radar stations and navigation systems freezing and collapsing. The Americans wrote off Russia and divided the Arctic into areas of responsibility between their allies: the Danes, Norwegians, Canadians, and British, believing that they could return at any moment.
But a lot has changed since then. It turned out that because of the melting of the ice, the Northern Sea Route has every chance to make a real competition to the Suez Canal. Thanks to the advent of modern technology, huge reserves of hydrocarbons in the Arctic shelf have become available for development. And after the “Crimean Spring”, the US relations with the Russian Federation returned to the state of the “Cold War”. And then it turned out extremely unpleasant moments for the Pentagon.
First, Russia was able to preserve its unique icebreaking fleet, which is a happy exception to the general attitude towards the Soviet legacy. Perhaps this is due to the fact that our oligarchs needed icebreakers for the development and subsequent transportation of hydrocarbons in the conditions of the Far North. Currently in Russia, oil and gas companies are actively interested in building new icebreakers and ice-class tankers. Leader class icebreakers will be able to conduct ships through the NSR even in winter. Therefore, we can say that in this matter the interests of big business coincided with the national interests of the state.
In addition, it is worth mentioning the development of project 23550 combat icebreakers in our country, equipped with artillery mounts and Caliber cruise missiles, as well as a fire control radar. It is assumed that the first such vessel under the name “Ivan Papanin” may be launched in 2021.
Secondly, it turned out that the US Navy was simply not adapted to combat operations in the conditions of the Far North. Aircraft carriers, frigates and destroyers of the US Navy are good, but without an icebreaker, they simply will not pass into the Arctic. Washington currently has only two outdated icebreakers that regularly break down due to the high degree of wear. The construction of new ones is planned, but it may take ten years.
Due to the lack of steam installations for cleaning ships from ice, American sailors will have to manually repel ice from all metal surfaces. And it’s scary to think what will happen to the US carrier strike group in the Arctic if it for some reason loses the escort icebreaker. It will literally freeze into the ice, and the Pentagon will have to ask these Russians to help with the release of the fleet, until the hummocks have damaged the aircraft carrier.
Nevertheless, the United States could not fail to declare their claims to the Arctic. According to the head of the US Navy Spencer, ‘the situation is under control’:
Yes, the concept is to go there.
True, the ‘Arctic campaign’ of the United States will somewhat resemble the ‘Kerch breakthrough’ of the Ukrainian Navy. The Americans are ready to risk a warship by sending it to the Arctic. One ship.