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"The new owner of the North": why the West can push Russia in the Arctic

Heavy-duty nuclear power plant, the ability to overcome the four-meter ice, and unparalleled speed — in the seaside town of Big Stone at the shipyard "Zvezda" started to build the world's largest nuclear icebreaker of project Leader. Recently I took the first cutting of metal for the hull. As the new icebreaker will strengthen the position of Russia in the Arctic — in the material RIA Novosti.

To 2033-mu needs to build three nuclear-powered. The first will be ready for operation by 2027. The cost is estimated at 130 billion rubles. According to the developers, a new class of icebreakers is unique in the world and has excellent technical characteristics, which allows year-round to conduct the caravans through the ice of the Arctic.

Power plant "Leader" — two nuclear reactors for 315 megawatts, which is two times more than the reactors of ice-breakers of the previous generation. Power submarine screw — 120 megawatts. The icebreaker will be equipped with modern systems of communication, navigation and reconnaissance of ice conditions. Dvuhsotmetrovy "Leader" with a displacement of 70 thousand tons will be able to go on a two-meter ice at a speed of 15 knots and a maximum ice thickness during the laying of the track is 4.5 meters.

Such high performance is achieved in particular due to the special design of the hull of the icebreaker. So, for the first time in the history of shipbuilding, each transverse edge of the frame (the frames forming the external contour) unique in form. This not only provides higher throughput through the ice, but laying ship channel width of about 50 meters. Icebreakers previous generation through the highway of a width not exceeding 36 metres and are on the ice no faster than two knots.

The crew "Leader" — 130 people. All will be accommodated in comfortable cabins. Provides space for several dozen passengers. Range is only limited food reserves, which is enough for eight months, "avtonomki".

"Icebreaker will be really unique, says RIA Novosti Chairman of the Russian Movement of support fleet captain first rank Mikhail Nenashev. — The size of the vessel, its shape allows to halve the time of passing the Northern sea route. With the commissioning of "Leader" will sharply increase the appeal of Arctic communications not only for Russian companies but also for foreign. By the way, 90 percent of world cargo transportation in the conditions of a pandemic coronavirus was provided by the Navy, because air transportation is limited, and cars between the continents don't go".

Russia is building nuclear-powered icebreakers primarily for economic purposes — for the development of the transport industry. However, all vessels of this class has a dual purpose. If necessary, icebreakers can perform and tasks that are not peculiar to the civil courts: to protect the territorial waters and ensure the safety of the country. Therefore, the design of "Leader" allows to place different types of weapons.

"The ship is weatherproof, there are no restrictions on the autonomy of the turn and storm indicators, — said Nenashev. — The icebreaker can set artillery systems, air defense system. But will have to retrain the crew or get a new one, because the tasks of the civilian and military sailors are different."

During the great Patriotic icebreakers were often involved for important military operations. For example, the ship of ice class "Anastas Mikoyan" in 1941 was converted into an auxiliary cruiser: equipped with anti-aircraft guns and artillery pieces, including 130-mm installations with a range of over 25 kilometers. "Anastas Mikoyan", assigned to the black sea fleet, participated in the defense of Odessa and Sevastopol, dozens of times engaged in battle with the ships of the Kriegsmarine. Later made a record for range and complexity the nine-month transition from Batumi to Anadyr.

According to the former commander of Northern fleet Admiral Vyacheslav Popov, the icebreakers of the new class proves Russia's leadership in Arctic region.

"Without icebreakers Arctic exploration is futile, — he stressed. — These ships improve the country's defense. The Arctic is the most dangerous from the point of view of strikes. Today the tasks of the Northern fleet has expanded, the sailors very close cooperation with Rosatomflot, as ice conditions are unstable and constantly changing. The ships of the Northern fleet often requires wiring through the ice. The Northern fleet is, of course, has certain possibilities of action in ice conditions, but not to the extent that a full-fledged icebreakers".

To the Arctic today, and attracted the attention of the leading powers of the world, and each trying to strengthen its position there. So, in may, for the first time in 25 years in the Barents sea includes a group of warships of the Sixth fleet of the U.S. Navy. According to official data of the Pentagon — for the "safety in difficult natural conditions and the maintenance of freedom of navigation and continuous interaction between the allies."

Three missile destroyers of the "Arleigh Burke" and the British frigate "Kent" stayed at the borders of Russia for a few days. According to military experts, this is directly related to the growing military presence of NATO in the region. The Arctic is the subject of a territorial, resource and military-strategic interests of many States. Here periodically there are icebreakers of South Korea, Sweden, Germany, USA and China. Many are not clear what the main owner of the Arctic and the Northern sea route is still Russia. The West is trying to press Moscow in this direction.

Therefore, Russia must not only build civilian icebreakers, but also to strengthen the fighting ships of the ice class Navy. So in a few years and the Navy will receive ship 23550 "Ivan Papanin". Its objectives — the protection of Arctic water resources, escorting and towing in the port of detained vessels, support vessels. Weapons — automatic gun mount AK-176МА and anti-aircraft complex.

If necessary "Papanin" will be able to bear the shock missile — container system "Caliber". From other patrol ships in the fleet, it differs in that it is able to break ice of about two meters.