2KTUU, 30 June 2017
ANCHORAGE AK The U.S. Coast Guard is one step closer to procuring six polar-class icebreakers.
The Senate Armed Service Committee unanimously passed a provision authored by Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan to procure the six polar-class icebreakers as part of the FY 18 National Defense Authorization Act.
Senator Sullivan writes, “I am hopeful that my provision and the larger NDAA will be considered by the full Senate in the near future.”
“The United States continues to be late to the game in the Arctic, as evidenced most clearly by our meager existing fleet of Coast Guard icebreakers capable of operating in this important region,” said Senator Sullivan.
Sullivan writes that the United States currently has two operational polar icebreakers, the heavy icebreaker Polar Star – which was commissioned in 1976 – and the medium-duty Healy – which was designed for scientific research.
In contrast, Russia has 41 governmental and privately owned conventional and nuclear icebreakers, with 11 additional icebreakers in development or planning, including three new nuclear-powered icebreakers to be completed by 2020.