WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The icebreaker Polar Star’s commander Capt. Michael Davanzo characterized the operation as one of the most difficult US military peacetime missions due to the harsh environment and extreme remoteness of the destination.
"Operation Deep Freeze, the US military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed, civilian USAP [US Antarctic Program] is unlike any other," Davanzo stated in the release.
The United States has two operational icebreakers, the 41-year-old heavy duty vessel Polar Star and the medium duty Healy, which is used for scientific research, according the US Naval Institute.
By comparison, Russia operates more than 40 icebreakers and is building 11 more with an eye to developing resources in the Arctic region, according to published reports.