The Arctic

Brief article from Micheal Peck on Russia’s Arctic ambitions: Russia has plans to dominate the Arctic

In case you missed it, the Arctic has been warming up for the last few decades. As Peck points out: “Once a lure for hardy explorers–and a hiding places for ballistic missile submarines–the North Pole is now seen as a new frontier with abundant energy and mineral resources. With polar ice melting, new shipping lanes are opening up that offer the prospect of more direct routes for cargo vessels sailing between North America, Europe and Asia.”

Anyhow, while the U.S. Navy has only one heavy ice breaker, fellow NATO member Canada is working the problem. They are building a facility at Baffin Island and are developing arctic capable patrol vessels, frigates, etc.  There are also planning on building 6-8 Harry DeWolf class artic patrol vessel:

based upon:

There are also the efforts of NATO members Norway and Denmark, so it is not like the United States and Russia are the only participants here.

Still the Northwest Passage has only been opened seasonally since 2000, with a cruise liner going through it in 2006. It is now being transited with increasing regularity. Of course, there is also the Northeast Passage and Russia has the Northern Sea Passage, which they are developing. Still, these passages are seeing limited use right now. In 2016, 18 ships (7 Russian) traversed the Northern Sea Passage.

A few related links:

Canada at War. The Arctic. Northwest Passage, 1944

Amazing Voyage Through Perilous Arctic Ocean (2000)

Warming ‘opens Northwest Passage’ (2007)

Plain sailing on the Northwest Passage (2007)

That pricey Arctic luxury cruise was just the beginning. Up next: Arctic shipping. (2016)


The picture at the top of this post is from 2016.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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