The U.S. Coast Guard is soliciting feedback on their six new polar icebreakers, which are expected to train in Arctic waters as soon as 2023.
Commander Kenneth Boda works in the USCG office of cutter forces and is the sponsors’ rep for the heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program. He says the plan is to make at least three of the vessels heavy icebreakers, equipped to travel through the Arctic and Antarctic. That means they have to be Polar Code compliant.
“They are going to be the latest technology, current ice-breaking technology, which is really neat, because they are replacing the Polar class vessels, which were built in the mid ‘70s,” Boda said. “We have three key performance parameters for these vessels. We need them to break six feet of ice at three knots, and we want them to break 21 feet of ridged ice. The second is an endurance requirement. We need it to operate between 80 and 90 days without refueling. And the third is interoperability.”