The Arctic theatre

REYKJAVIK. Iceland — The Biden administration is leading a campaign against Russian attempts to assert authority over Arctic shipping and reintroduce a military dimension to discussions over international activity in the area.....


 
REYKJAVIK. Iceland — The Biden administration is leading a campaign against Russian attempts to assert authority over Arctic shipping and reintroduce a military dimension to discussions over international activity in the area.....


Russia have just assumed the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, so the US are taking the opportunity to piss all over anything the Russians try to do there. It's just politics and diplomacy as usual.
 

Yokel

LE
Maybe this has no deeper significance, but I do not recall HMS Protector or her predecessor needing to go and train in the Arctic...

His ship has not been in among the ice and snowy/sub-zero conditions since the beginning of 2019, so needs to re-learn the idiosyncrasies of operating in such a demanding – and unforgiving – environment, which she’ll do in Norway before heading south for the austral summer towards the end of the year.
 
Closer to home if anything goes wrong after a major refit. Presumably, though, also useful as the arctic becomes more strategically important.
 

Yokel

LE
There has ben an increase in RN and NATO naval activity in the Arctic.

Just out of interest, the unclassified NATO Naval Arctic Manual can be found on the internet.

NATO Naval Arctic Manual
 

Yokel

LE
HMS Protector makes history sailing further North than any other Royal Navy ship

“This team has ventured far to one of the most amazing parts of the planet,” said Protector’s Commanding Officer Captain Michael Wood.

“The chance to familiarise ourselves with this unforgiving environment has been fantastic, and re-asserts the UK’s ability to operate in the Arctic.”

The ship’s Royal Marines’ Mountain Leader Sergeant Chris Carlisle led daily patrols on to ice floes inhabited by polar bears to set up the trial ranges and take ice samples.

“The team adapted well to the Arctic,” he said. “Within a week of sailing from Devonport the temperatures and conditions changed immeasurably. Everybody on-board proved they can safely do their job in the most extreme of environments.”

The ship also conducted surveys of the sea bed – between 2,000 and 3,000 metres deep in the Fram Strait – collected data about the North Atlantic currents, observed marine mammals, and helped the British Antarctic Survey with its work studying the polar ice cap.

Protector rounds off her mission to the High North by arriving in Reykjavik today to mark Iceland’s recent accession to the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, drawn from nine northern European nations committed to global security.


Given the continued strategic and scientific importance of the Arctic, could a case be made for have am Arctic patrol/survey vesel?
 

bob231

War Hero
Why? We have no territorial claims or outposts in the Arctic and we would essentially be making an even more specialised ship to... err... do what Type 23 and Type 26 will do normally and routinely.

Actually poking around in the ice is admittedly beyond them, but of very little interest to HMG.
 

Yokel

LE
Why? We have no territorial claims or outposts in the Arctic and we would essentially be making an even more specialised ship to... err... do what Type 23 and Type 26 will do normally and routinely.

Actually poking around in the ice is admittedly beyond them, but of very little interest to HMG.

Thinking out loud - how much would it cost to purchase and convert another icebreaker? Could this be an answer to the national yacht debacle?

Hydrographic and Oceanography in support of NATO, climate science for the institutions that deal with that, and a sovereign presence should trans Arctic shipping routes become feasible.
 
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bob231

War Hero
Thinking out loud - how much would it cost to purchase and convert another icebreaker? Could unmanned be an answer to the national yacht debacle?

Hydrographic and Oceanography in support of NATO, climate science for the institutions that deal with that, and a sovereign presence should trans Arctic shipping routes become feasible.
Counterpoint: given this would be a specialist capability we have limited use for, why would we spend the money on it compared to something more generally useful?

An unmanned yacht with passengers aboard is quite a long way from both practicality and regulatory acceptance. I suspect - for mechanical and MARPOL reasons and most likely navigational - the same is true of an icebreaker.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
HMS Protector makes history sailing further North than any other Royal Navy ship

“This team has ventured far to one of the most amazing parts of the planet,” said Protector’s Commanding Officer Captain Michael Wood.

“The chance to familiarise ourselves with this unforgiving environment has been fantastic, and re-asserts the UK’s ability to operate in the Arctic.”

The ship’s Royal Marines’ Mountain Leader Sergeant Chris Carlisle led daily patrols on to ice floes inhabited by polar bears to set up the trial ranges and take ice samples.

“The team adapted well to the Arctic,” he said. “Within a week of sailing from Devonport the temperatures and conditions changed immeasurably. Everybody on-board proved they can safely do their job in the most extreme of environments.”

The ship also conducted surveys of the sea bed – between 2,000 and 3,000 metres deep in the Fram Strait – collected data about the North Atlantic currents, observed marine mammals, and helped the British Antarctic Survey with its work studying the polar ice cap.

Protector rounds off her mission to the High North by arriving in Reykjavik today to mark Iceland’s recent accession to the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, drawn from nine northern European nations committed to global security.


Given the continued strategic and scientific importance of the Arctic, could a case be made for have am Arctic patrol/survey vesel?


Or, recently refitted icebreaker sails to nearest ice to reclassify her ice breaking capacity and test her newly rebuilt propulsion system…
 
Counterpoint: given this would be a specialist capability we have limited use for, why would we spend the money on it compared to something more generally useful?

An unmanned yacht with passengers aboard is quite a long way from both practicality and regulatory acceptance. I suspect - for mechanical and MARPOL reasons and most likely navigational - the same is true of an icebreaker.

Why on earth would "unmanned" make the yacht thing any less of a terrible idea?
 

Yokel

LE
Unmanned? Eh? Oh sorry - an unwanted word crept in. Was typing on my phone.

Bah!

If spending on a 'yacht' is seen as vanity, how about a scientific research vessel? That was my semi rhetorical question.
 
Thinking out loud - how much would it cost to purchase and convert another icebreaker? Could this be an answer to the national yacht debacle?

Hydrographic and Oceanography in support of NATO, climate science for the institutions that deal with that, and a sovereign presence should trans Arctic shipping routes become feasible.
How much ice capacity do you want? If you want to poke around the edges of the ice in summer, then look at what the HMS Protector cost and see if you can find another one for sale.

If you want to operate year round in most (but not all) ice conditions, then you are probably talking about 3/4 of a billion to a billion pounds, based on current estimates from Canada.

And an actual icebreaker has a hull form which is not optimised for operation in open water, so it probably wouldn't be a good choice for a royal yacht.

Every country but one which borders on the Arctic Ocean is an ally of the UK. I would suggest that if you want to spend some money then the most useful thing the UK could do would be to spend it on either a new frigate or on more kit for your existing ones.
 

Cyberhacker

War Hero
It appears that the US Army is reconsidering its footprint in the Arctic theatre - specifically Alaska.


US Army Alaska (USARAK) is being upgraded to a two-star appointment, and the US Army will field a Multi-Domain Task Force-enabled division and adjust the Alaskan-based brigade combat teams to regain the U.S. Army’s Arctic dominance.

At present, USARAK consists of a Stryker BCT and an Airborne BCT - both subordinate to 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii... this paper suggests the establishment of a full divisional headquarters (presumably, reinstating 6th Infantry Division?).

As I understand it, Strykers are limited in their training opportunities at Fort Wainwright (near Fairbanks) so I'd be minded to swap 1/25 SBCT with 3/10 IBCT (a light infantry BCT) at Fort Polk... this would also give XVIII Airborne Corps a SBCT for support (perhaps flagged as a Cavalry Regiment, similar to 2CR or 3CR)

[This is all based on public-domain information, so no OPSEC considerations]
 
It appears that the US Army is reconsidering its footprint in the Arctic theatre - specifically Alaska.


US Army Alaska (USARAK) is being upgraded to a two-star appointment, and the US Army will field a Multi-Domain Task Force-enabled division and adjust the Alaskan-based brigade combat teams to regain the U.S. Army’s Arctic dominance.

At present, USARAK consists of a Stryker BCT and an Airborne BCT - both subordinate to 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii... this paper suggests the establishment of a full divisional headquarters (presumably, reinstating 6th Infantry Division?).

As I understand it, Strykers are limited in their training opportunities at Fort Wainwright (near Fairbanks) so I'd be minded to swap 1/25 SBCT with 3/10 IBCT (a light infantry BCT) at Fort Polk... this would also give XVIII Airborne Corps a SBCT for support (perhaps flagged as a Cavalry Regiment, similar to 2CR or 3CR)

[This is all based on public-domain information, so no OPSEC considerations]
The main constraint to operating in the Arctic is logistics. Anything other than light airborne forces is going to struggle to maintain itself outside of the very few areas with a road.
 

Yokel

LE
The main constraint to operating in the Arctic is logistics. Anything other than light airborne forces is going to struggle to maintain itself outside of the very few areas with a road.

Presumably this applies to the Russians and Chinese too? Has armoured warfare even taken place in an Arctic environment? Is it really a place for vehicles that are sixty or more tonnes?
 

bob231

War Hero
Presumably this applies to the Russians and Chinese too? Has armoured warfare even taken place in an Arctic environment? Is it really a place for vehicles that are sixty or more tonnes?
I refer you to the post you are quoting.
 

Yokel

LE
I refer you to the post you are quoting.

CTRL + F tells me that the word 'armor' does not appear in the text of that document. Did the USSR ever produce a specialist Arctic variant of the T-72 or whatever?
 

bob231

War Hero
CTRL + F tells me that the word 'armor' does not appear in the text of that document. Did the USSR ever produce a specialist Arctic variant of the T-72 or whatever?
I don't know.

My point, though, was that terminal's post above answers your question: road networks in the Arctic are dire, therefore anything that needs a significant logistical tail is very constrained in how it can operate. You also need to factor in fuel additives, specialist greases, awkward terrain, and just why would you bother in the first place?

Hence the SABC on your post.
 

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