Sea Control in the Arctic; a Soviet Perspective.
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI
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This paper exposes the ominous Soviet capability to outflank the US Maritime Strategy by exploiting sea control in the Arctic Ocean. This a recent development resulting from a long term effort by the Soviet Union to gain access to the immense natural resources of the Siberian region by constructing an inter-modal transportation system which links the Trans-Siberian Railroad to various northward flowing rivers and port facilities of embarkation servicing the Soviet Northern Sea Route. By building an unprecendented ice-strengthened fleet of nuclear and conventionally powered icebreakers, naval combatants and cargo ships, they have opened the Northern Sea route to virtually year-round operation. This has been coupled to an infra-structure of specialized lighterage and handling systems to more cargo quickly through remote Arctic areas. Although the primary incentives for this development have been economic, the strategic implications are frightening. In the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Mediterranean, concentric circles of Soviet defensive power radiate outward from the motherland but are effectively contained by US and NATO military power. Only in the Arctic van the Soviets project defensive forces virtually unopposed because the West continues to envision the icy polar seas as impenetrable geographic barriers.
- Naval Surface Warfare