WASHINGTON, (BM) – The capabilities of the Ivan Papanin icebreaker turn it into offensive weapons, said US Navy Commander in Europe and Africa Admiral James Foggo on June 25 during a webinar, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
He is confident that the ability to install Kalibr cruise missiles on the Ivan Papanin icebreaker turns it into offensive weapons. He emphasized that icebreakers can carry defensive weapons, but the Kalibr clearly does not belong to this class of weapons.
“Russia is aggressively approaching the Arctic. They recently presented a new icebreaker, Ivan Papanin, which can carry Kalibr cruise missiles. I have already asked this question several times and I will ask again: who puts the rockets on the icebreakers? Some countries put defensive weapons on their icebreakers, but Caliber is not a defensive weapon,” said James Foggo.
The admiral also emphasized that this is not the only “aggressive” initiative of Russia in the Antarctic region. He claims that Russia has begun deploying new bases on which the S-400 air defense systems are located.
Foggo is confident that competition has begun for the sea in the Arctic, which requires the creation of a strong fleet that can protect the interests of the state and ensure the safety of trade routes.
Recall, the lead patrol ship of the ice class of project 23550 Ivan Papanin was launched in October 2019. The delivery of the ship is scheduled for November 25, 2023. The second ship of the same class, Nikolay Zubov, was laid down in November 2019; its delivery is scheduled for November 2024.
What military action is Russia taking in the Arctic?
As we reported on December 9 last year, the Northern Fleet will arm all its Arctic battalions with S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems in coming years to create an air defense dome over the Russian Arctic.
“This year, S-400 systems will enter service with the air defense missile regiment stationed on Novaya Zemlya. There are plans to arm all our Arctic battalions with these systems in coming years and thus create an air defense dome over the Russian Arctic,” the Fleet commander then said.
Also, units of a new air defense formation have gone on experimental combat duty in Tiksi to provide security of the airspace over the Northern Sea Route, he added.
“In the future, we are planning to build up the air defense capabilities of Russia’s northern frontiers,” the vice-admiral stressed.
Thus, the Russian polar regions will be protected against enemy air attacks, “be it aviation, cruise or ballistic missiles,” the Northern Fleet commander explained.
Russia also continues building ramified military infrastructure on the Arctic islands, in particular, hi-tech lighting systems to monitor the situation in the air, on the ground and under the water, he said.
Why the United States has fears that Russia’s actions in the Arctic are dangerous?
The growing Russian military presence in the Arctic threatens NATO’s anti-submarine defense line in the North Atlantic, said US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Michael Murphy on May 17.
“China and Russia are increasingly striving to challenge the interests of the United States, the West and the Allies. <…> And the Arctic is no exception,” the American diplomat said.
According to Murphy, Russia has created a developed infrastructure in the Arctic, announced the dispatch of S-400 missile defense systems to the Kola Peninsula, and formed new Arctic units. In his opinion, these actions go beyond the protection of territories, jeopardizing the Faroe-Icelandic border.
“The US recognizes Russia’s legitimate interests in the Arctic, Russia is a member of the Arctic Council,” said the diplomat. “We are interacting with Russia and other Arctic countries on a number of issues, including oil spill response, search and rescue operations, [pollution control]. Work is ongoing, we want to continue it, we have no concern about this.” a representative of the State Department of high rank said on April 24.
“However, we are concerned about the construction of Russian military facilities in the Arctic. The Russian presence has grown significantly in recent years, the Arctic command has been created, airfields and other infrastructure have been restored. Deep sea ports, new military bases along the coast have been created, efforts are continuing to deploy air defense and missile systems, early radars detection.”, aslo the diplomat added.
What action is the United States taking?
On April 24 The US Air Force command announced that the Pentagon began to deploy to the Eielson air base in Alaska the 5th generation F-35A fighter jets, which will be part of the 354th fighter wing, belonging to the 11th Air Army in the North Pacific.
On April 21, the first two F-35A fighters arrived at Eielson base from Fort Worth air base in Texas, accompanied by one KS-135 refueling aircraft.
“It is planned that the base will receive two F-35A aircraft per month after the delivery of the first aircraft. It is expected that by December 2021, 54 planes and 1,300 people will be in Eielson,” the command of the US Air Force said.
In accordance with the rearmament plans, F-35A fighters will replace F-16 fighters.
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