Russia’s Arktika Completes Second Stage Trials

  • Arktika completed second stage of testing.
  • It is expected to be transferred for use on November 5th.
  • The next two vessels of the project 22220, "Siberia" and "Ural," will be delivered by the Baltic plant in 2021 and 2022.

Last month, the Russian nuclear powered icebreaker Arktika completed the second stage of sea trials and returned to its homeport of St. Petersburg. The second phase of testing lasted almost three months. It should be noted that the first stage of sea trials took place in December last year.

The Arktika class is a Russian (former Soviet) class of nuclear-powered icebreakers. Formerly known as Project 10520 nuclear-powered icebreaker, they were the world’s largest and most powerful icebreakers until the 2016 launch of the first Project 22220 icebreaker, also named Arktika.

Due to the need to refine the turbine part of the nuclear-powered vessel, it was run on diesel without launching a nuclear power plant. During the sea trials of the second stage, the interaction of the rowing electric installation with the nuclear and main turbo generators was evaluated, the electric power system was tested under sea conditions, and the maneuverability characteristics of the vessel under various draft options.

“The sea trials program has been completed in full… The Arktika nuclear icebreaker is ready to move to Murmansk,” said Mikhail Kashka, General Director of Atomflot. On September 22, the Arktika sailed from St. Petersburg and headed for the Baltic Sea in the direction of the home port of Murmansk.

According to Kashka, the transition from St. Petersburg to Murmansk would take about two weeks, during which it would be checked in ice conditions. During the transition, the Arktika will enter the territory covered with ice, passing North of Franz Josef land (83° North latitude).

This will allow you to configure the electric propulsion system of the icebreaker in the ice conditions of a real hike. For the first time, the nuclear-powered vessel will be in extreme conditions— beyond the Arctic Circle.

The acceptance certificate of the Arctic icebreaker will be signed in Murmansk, after testing by the Polar region. The final transfer to the Rosatom group is scheduled for November 5th. At present, Arktika is undergoing the inspection.

The technical project of the Arktika was developed by the iceberg central design bureau in 2009. The ship was laid on November 5, 2013, and launched on June 16, 2016.

Moreover, it can operate independently in the Arctic for six months (if measured by the reserves of provisions for the crew), and for a maximum of seven years. The maximum time can only be achieved if the ship is provided supplies by helicopter. Arktika has a helipad and one full-time helicopter with its own hangar.

On the deck there are cranes and cradles for lifting and unloading people and objects in the sea. For example, you can use them to pick up people from tugs or rescue polar explorers from an ice floe. More than 90% of the equipment and materials on the icebreaker were produced in Russia.

“The Arktika is a vessel that will help consolidate Russia’s primacy in the Arctic region,” said General Director of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, A. Rakhmanov. The universal two-stop design allows it to be used both in deep sea water and in the polar rivers.

Project 22220, also known through the Russian type size series designation LK-60Ya, is a series of Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers. Project 22220 icebreakers are currently the largest and most powerful icebreakers under construction, surpassing their predecessors of the Arktika class.

Furthermore, the next two vessels of the project 22220, “Siberia” and “Ural,” will be delivered by the Baltic plant in 2021 and 2022. The contract for the construction of the fourth and fifth icebreakers of this project (“Yakutia “and” Chukotka”) was signed in August last year.

However, the deadline for their completion is 2024 and 2026, respectively. The series is designed to solve strategic tasks along the Northern sea route and provide year-round navigation in the Western Arctic.

This year, the Rossiya (the lead icebreaker of the newest Leader project) will be laid, and its construction is scheduled for completion in 2027. It will be built in the Primorsky Territory, at the Zvezda shipbuilding complex. Said Kashka:

“With the arrival of the Arktika project icebreakers, we will provide nine months of navigation along the entire route of the Northern sea route. And with the arrival of the Leader icebreaker, we are guaranteed to completely close the Eastern route of the Pacific region.”

He recalled that 45 years ago, the first ship with the name “Arktika” departed from the wall of the Baltic plant, which became the first ship in history to reach the North Pole on the surface.

Russia continues to expand into the Arctic. Unfortunately, it could have a dire effect for the Arctic habitat.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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