BreakingDefense.com has reported the Commandant has announced the release of “a notional program schedule [and] notional Polar Icebreaker requirements” for two new heavy icebreakers today.
Details have been released to qualified contractors, but not the general public.
The reference to two icebreakers is a bit of a surprise. The source of the funding is not clear, but the Commandant suggest there is strong support in Congress and he sees some of it coming in 2017.
UPDATE: The additional details on the requirements from DefenseNews.
Specifically, the new ships need to be able to continuously push through up to six feet of ice — but preferably eight — going at least 3 knots.
In ice-free waters, it will need a sustained speed of 15 knots, or the speed at max horsepower.
The new icebreakers must also be able to:
- Sail a range of 21,500 nautical miles at 12 knots.
- Go 80 days underway without replenishment.
- Run at least 3,300 operational hours a year.
- Visually evaluate ice conditions for 12 nautical miles in each direction.
- Land a range of military and federal helicopters.
- Hangar two Coast Guard helicopters or future unmanned systems.