The Arctic theatre

Grey Fox

*Russian Troll*
Just for lulz - EUrofools want Arctic resourses.
"Just as we have seen in Norway and Denmark, the EU is now making its way up the political agenda of the EU. Increased Chinese, Russian and American focus on the Arctic has created a stronger need for the EU to secure its role as well as European access to oil, gas and minerals in the High North."

EU President Expedites EU’s Arctic Policy
 

Grey Fox

*Russian Troll*
Don’t get too excited, it’s the first time the Apache has been in arctic conditions not the first western helicopter to go there
Its first flight was in 1975. Its first Arctic flight was forty four years later. Just an illustration of your real interests and abilities.
 

Grey Fox

*Russian Troll*
He-he-he.
Another degradant from Royal Marines, after playing board wargames in Finland, find himself as strategist.

There is at least one thing, that this snowflake dont understand: "light infantry" can play in the "cold weather" against superior forces of agressor, only if it is better prepared to this "cold weather". And it is not about 95% of NATO forces (including 40 Commando).
 
He-he-he.
Another degradant from Royal Marines, after playing board wargames in Finland, find himself as strategist.

There is at least one thing, that this snowflake dont understand: "light infantry" can play in the "cold weather" against superior forces of agressor, only if it is better prepared to this "cold weather". And it is not about 95% of NATO forces (including 40 Commando).
Hmmmm..... so military type do some war gaming (part of the job, and one I have always enjoyed) and somehow this is a sign they are no good at the job...
 
The northern flank of NATO is a defenders dream and attackers nightmare.

So many natural obstacles to channel forces into ambush and killing zones.

It's a frozen version of Thermopylae.
 
Norway says it proved Russian GPS interference during NATO exercises | Reuters
Norway says they have proof Russia interfered with GPS during Ex Trident Juncture. Finland and Norway have complained. Russia has asked for proof. This was provided. One can guess at the response:
Both Norway and Finland protested to Russia, which dismissed those allegations when they were first made.

“Russia asked (us) to give proof. We gave them the proof,” Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told reporters, adding that this consisted of measurements showing signals had been jammed.

“Russia said ‘thank you, we will come back when our experts review that’. To have such an answer from Russia is a positive thing,” he said.

“To be a neighbour of Russia you need to be patient.”

Asked whether Russia could have targeted Norway intentionally, the minister said: “They were exercising very close to the border and they knew this will affect areas on the other side.”
 
Just for lulz:
"The United States continues to elevate its Arctic commitment as Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is slated to travel to Finland to attend the Arctic Council meeting in early May. A new Arctic defense strategy will follow by June."


US reacts to Chinese and Russian Arctic Activity, Pompeo to attend Arctic Council Meeting

For one, I think that a new icebreaker would be better, then a new 'strategy'
There seems to be two major points to take note of, from that story and from other stories linked to in the first one.
U.S. Navy Plans to Send Surface Vessels Through Arctic
Pompeo seen attending Finland Arctic talks amid China concerns | Reuters
Navy May Deploy Surface Ships to Arctic This Summer as Shipping Lanes Open Up - USNI News

The first is that the US is concerned over increased Chinese activity in the Arctic.
Asked if Pompeo was expected to attend the May gathering in Rovaniemi, Finland, the senior Trump administration official said: “We do ... unless he gets pulled off to one of his many other issues.”
“We want to show that we are committed to being an Arctic nation, an Arctic power,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told a small group of reporters. “Chinese action has really focused everyone’s minds, including the Russians.”
China jointed the Arctic Council as an observer, and their "Belt and Road" plan includes opening new shipping routes through the Arctic.
China became an observer member of the Arctic Council in 2013 and last year it outlined its ambitions to extend President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming.
The aggressive US territorial disputes with Canadian in the Arctic may backfire on them if it leads to other countries such as China taking advantage of this to gain wider access to the Arctic.

The other interesting point concerns the statements that the US may send a fleet uninvited through Russia's Northern Sea Route (NSR).
“Now the Northern Sea Route is open more often, and there is a resource and commercial interest in it. […] This creates competition.” Scaparrotti went on to explain that US forces have updated their plans, including deployment of military forces and operational trends in order to provide containment. “We send a signal that the Arctic is important to us," he added.

This sentiment was echoed by Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer who explained that the rapid opening of the Arctic Ocean to shipping traffic requires the Navy’s presence in the region. “As an example, this summer, the [chief of naval operations] and I have talked about having some ships make the transit in the Arctic.” Spencer confirmed that the planned voyage would be a freedom of navigation exercise, but would not confirm if this would involve a voyage along or near Russia’s Northern Sea Route.
From the reports, it appears that they are thinking about going through the NSR, but may scale that back to some lesser demonstration in the Arctic if that looks to difficult. Current US Navy ships were not designed for Arctic conditions, and may struggle to operate safely there.
Even with a change in rhetoric on the part of US military officials calling for greater Arctic engagement, the US’ capabilities in the Arctic will continue to lag behind Russia’s.

The last US Navy vessel designed with a system to prevent the buildup of ice on the ship’s superstructure, the Ticonderoga-class cruisers, were conceived in the 1970s. Newer Navy vessels do not have ice capabilities such as ice-hardened hulls. (...)

Even without ice, the rough waters of the Arctic Ocean present a challenge to smaller escort vessels traveling along larger vessels, such as the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier explains Spencer. The smaller vessels faced more ice buildup and struggled with high waves. In fact, during a voyage from Iceland to Norway in October 2018, a smaller dock landing ship traveling with a larger amphibious assault ship, sustained damage in heavy seas and had to return to port.
 

Grey Fox

*Russian Troll*
The other interesting point concerns the statements that the US may send a fleet uninvited through Russia's Northern Sea Route (NSR).
He-he-he. In this case they dont need special 'Arctic' ships. Anyway they will be arrested for illegal violation of border. Up to six years of prison. As Ukrainian sailors in Kerch Strait.
 
He-he-he. In this case they dont need special 'Arctic' ships. Anyway they will be arrested for illegal violation of border. Up to six years of prison. As Ukrainian sailors in Kerch Strait.
One of their new LCS frigates was stuck in Montreal over the winter, as they left it too late to exit the Great Lakes where the shipyard was located to the Atlantic before ice appeared on the St Lawrence River. The river was navigable to normal traffic since it is kept open by icebreakers (Montreal is an important port). However, they were worried that the fragile hull would be damaged by floating ice despite commercial shipping being able to navigate the river regardless. There was at least one post this on one of the threads on this site.

As another example I think that one or more of the reports linked above mentioned they haven't given much thought in their current ship designs to avoiding ice accumulation on the upper hull. That is a serious oversight for any ship operating in northern waters.

I suspect that they will need to evaluate all of these problems and risks before figuring out whether they can put together a group of ships which can operate safely and without taking too much damage from environmental conditions in the Arctic. I don't know if they have any naval ships that are ice-strengthened, which is going to limit where they can go. They will also probably need to take an icebreaker with them should the winds turn unfavourable. This would especially be a problem for them if they decided to push their way through the Northern Sea Route, as they would be far from any friendly port or help should they run into trouble.

I won't be surprised if all of this simply turns into a demonstration in the Bering Sea with possibly a short bit of sailing about the western Beaufort Sea if the weather proves favourable. This may be why they aren't commenting at this time on details of what their plans are.

The Americans have been focused on the Pacific for years now, and haven't been giving much thought to being able to operate in Arctic waters. They have an Arctic Ocean coast with the state of Alaska, but the Arctic has been near the bottom of their priority list for a long time now. It just isn't something that people in Washington ever think about, and the recent activity there has caught them unprepared.

They are also hobbled in the Arctic due to political problems. Increasing international activity in the Arctic is happening due to global warming. However, powerful political forces in the US are opposed to recognising that global warming is happening, so their military cannot request spending predicated on long term planning based on that happening.
 
Arctic battleground: Russia's race to militarise resource-rich region
Sky article on Russian militarisation in the Arctic. As usual, the troops are said to love it and have no complaints:
But in true military style, there is not a word of complaint. I ask Sergei Ampilogov, who is dutifully lifting weights for the assembled media, how life is up here in the Arctic. This is his fifth year on Kotelny Island and he only goes home once a year.

"It's great - the same as on the mainland," he says.

"Everything depends on the people around you - your friends, the team. Not the place where you're located."


I ask him what his greatest enemy is. "The weather," he says. "We don't have any other enemies here."
Bastion (anti-shipping) missiles and Palantsir SAM/AAA:
They have all the weaponry though to fend off more tangible threats, including Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile systems, specially modified for Arctic conditions which we watch blasting off into the polar emptiness, and Bastion anti-ship missiles for coastal defence.

Table tennis in the weights room...... I assume Russians are like US troops and like training in their uniforms
 

Grey Fox

*Russian Troll*
Table tennis in the weights room...... I assume Russians are like US troops and like training in their uniforms
Sure, Russian are much better than Septics and Underseptics. For example, now they are training at North Dessant drills - autonomouse actions of small groups at Arctic conditions.
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Cape Chelyuskin is real Arctic, something seriosly different from Stockholm suburbs.
 
The following story is about the Russian defence efforts in the Arctic, but it is based around information provided by a Canadian MP, John McKay, who is on a defence committee.
www.cbc.ca/news/politics/russia-canada-arctic-mckay-1.5086924?cmp=rss
Liberal John McKay, the Canadian co-chair of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence with the U.S., says he fears Canada isn't ready to defend its territory as the threat from Russia slowly expands.
The following is a US map showing Russian and American bases in the Arctic.


McKay said he sees the the US White House as being indifferent to the expansion of Russian power in the Arctic. Part of McKay's job involves attending joint defence meetings with the US, so he can be expected to have some insight into this.
McKay shares those concerns. "It's not just simply the presence of significant numbers of troops but it's also missiles, and ships, and ballistic missiles, and low-altitude cruise missiles," he said.

McKay recently attended a meeting of the joint board where participants discussed the rapid expansion of Russia's military presence in the region.

McKay said he's still not convinced the White House understands what's at stake.

"Clearly there is a certain indifference on the part of President [Donald] Trump."
He of course would like to see Canada spend more money on defence in the Arctic.
But McKay said he also wants to see Canada ramp up Arctic defence.

"I would like to see more resources applied to what has become a security issue for us, primarily driven by the fact that climate change has opened up the sea lanes."
It is difficult to say what the significance if this news story is, whether it is just an MP promoting the work he is involved in, or whether the government is testing the waters for an upcoming related defence announcement. There is a federal election coming up later in the year, and the period prior to that would be a good time to distract the public's attention from other matters.
 

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