The Coast Guard hopes to launch a new heavy icebreaking vessel by 2023. To do it, the service needs to speed up the acquisition process for the ship, according to National Defense magazine.
Speaking to the Surface Navy Association on Jan. 10, Coast Guard Admiral Paul Zunkunft told reporters speeding up the purchase would depend on new equipment investments by U.S. shipyards, which haven’t built heavy icebreakers for decades.
The Coast Guard’s longtime request for funds to buy new icebreakers has taken on added currency as its ships age and the Arctic warms due to climate change. The sea service has just two icebreakers, one of which, the heavy icebreaker USCG Polar Sea, is not currently in use. Kunkunft said the Coast Guard hopes to buy six new icebreakers, three medium and three heavy, fielding the first one in five years for less than $1 billion.