“Right now we are working through five shipyards, and we’ve given them the autonomy to go out and search the world over for ice breaking designs,” Zukunft said on Wednesday. “We didn’t limit them in scope, in terms of where to look or whether they initiate a whole new design. They will come back to us and give us five different proposals that may be based upon an international model, and it could be Russia, if this is what would best meet our needs.”
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis stated in January that the United States is disastrously losing the competition to build and operate icebreakers in the Arctic Ocean.
The US Coast Guard has only two active icebreakers, and its only heavy icebreaker is nearing the end of its service life, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Russia has the largest icebreaker fleet, with four nuclear-powered icebreakers and three under construction, more than 30 ocean-going icebreakers, with some half a dozen under construction.