Military Review

Breaking the ice!

Russia owns the most powerful icebreaker fleet in the world: we have 4 nuclear-powered icebreakers, one container ship and 4 technological maintenance vessels. This is not a mosquito you sneezed!
The tasks of this powerful flotilla are truly strategic: the icebreakers support the stable operation of the Northern Sea Route, as well as provide access to the regions of the Far North and the Arctic shelf. They carry Norilsk ore, the Arkhangelsk forest, the northern delivery and spent nuclear fuel.

The USA, Canada, Finland and Sweden have their own icebreaking fleet. But no country in the world has such ice work opportunities as ours. We were convinced of this by visiting the heart of the Russian nuclear fleet on the basis of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Rosatomflot and the icebreaker 50 Years of Victory.

The base of "Rosatomflot" can be seen from afar: against the background of the hills, like the Arctic "convoy" of icebreakers lined up, which protects the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Well, here he is with a "humanitarian mission" - he got up to clean the feathers before summer work in the Mediterranean.

First of all, we were invited to our office by Mustafa Kashka, First Deputy General Director and Chief Engineer, and told us what the future icebreaker would be and what its captain should be able to do.

“The atomic icebreaking fleet experienced three stages of development,” he says, “The first stage is the icebreaker Lenin. The second stage began in 70-ies with the descent of the icebreakers Arktika, Sibir and Russia. Then there were two small-seat icebreaker. We consider them "melkosyaschimi" because simply large 75 000 horsepower, and they 50 000.
They were built for river navigation of vessels, primarily for the Yenisei. This stage is associated with the development of the Norilsk industrial region. "The third stage, which has arrived, is associated with the development of hydrocarbon energy.

Now three contracts have been signed for the construction of three nuclear-powered icebreakers, which are being built at the Baltic plant in St. Petersburg, and these will be new-generation icebreakers, ”Kashka specified.

Active development of the Northern Sea Route is sometimes associated with global warming and melting ice. But the chief engineer does not quite agree with this: "The cyclical melting of the ice has always been. Sea-going icebreakers clearly know: if, for example, the situation in the western sector is harsh, it will be better in the east, and vice versa. There has always been a two-year oscillation of ice thawing."

The development of the Arctic is in fact primarily related to the improvement of technology.
Let us remember: if before us the plane dropped the tubes with maps on the ice, now satellite electronic maps allow us to count each walrus on a stove bench. Technologies have changed regarding the knowledge of ice, its effects on ship hulls. "It is important for us, icebreakers, what channel remains for you, so that the back-end vessel does not beat over the fragments. After all, the icebreaker crushes with a mass."

Of course, Mustafa Kashka is right: there are several dozen types of ice alone: ​​sea, spongy, glacier, ice fields, frost, and even ice fat!

Why is an atomic installation installed on icebreakers? It is curious that in addition to submarines, two options for the installation of a nuclear installation were initially considered - on whaling bases (then the fishery was allowed) and on ships. As a result, stopped on the ships. Nuclear power plant is needed where long-term autonomy is needed.

“My personal record is a year of autonomous residence at sea. We went to sea on the Arctic icebreaker 3 in May 1999, and for the first time entered the 4 port in May 2000, there were two crew changes. Where power is needed over 30 000 horses, and where autonomy is required, nuclear power is most efficient. "
For example, for a ship with an 75 000 horsepower, equipped with a diesel engine, 350 - 400 tons of fossil fuel per day would be needed. That is, a good tanker would be burned in a month. But, in any case, the numbers here - not the main thing.

Atomic fleet can not be a source of income. This is a purely infrastructure project. It gives new opportunities for development. And the Northern Sea Route is the national transport artery.

What is required of the captain in the first place, and who is worthy of walking and commanding an atomic giant breaking up the ice?
Earlier in the description of the sailors was the mark: "Sea quality: good." Everything was evaluated, including work in a closed team, but the basic requirement is the will and ability to work with people.

On board the icebreaker "50 years of Victory" we are met by Dmitry Viktorovich Lobusov, the real captain, the atomic sea wolf and, as it turned out, our colleague in the living magazine - dmitry_v_ch_l.

He shows us the whole vessel, from the captain’s bridge to its atomic heart.

"50 years of Victory" - the world's largest nuclear-powered icebreaker (project 10521) and the pride of Russia. It was laid under the name "Ural" on October 4 of the year at the Baltic Plant in Leningrad, but it was put into operation only in the year of 1989. Then simply did not have enough money to build ...

1 February 2007, an icebreaker, entered the Gulf of Finland for sea trials that lasted two weeks. The Russian flag was raised on 23 in March on 2007 of the year, and on April X the icebreaker came to the permanent port of registry, Murmansk.

30 July 2013 to the ship participated in the hundredth expedition to the North Pole. 85 once the top of the planet visited Russian icebreakers, 15 times - foreign.
All in all, there were 118 ships at the North Pole. And "50 Years of Victory" - among them.

This Arctic-class icebreaker is not just handsome, but also strong: its power is 75 000 horsepower, and the displacement is 25168 tons.
The length of 159,6 meters, the width of 30 meters, the height of the 17,2 freeboard and the average draft is equal to 11 meters.

Breaking the ice!

Like airplanes, ships also have their registration numbers, by which they can be tracked on the maritime "flytradar".
The official call sign of the 50 Anniversary of the Victory icebreaker: Uniform Golf Yankee Uniform.

For those who are not familiar with the phonetic alphabet:

Since the vessel is constantly maneuvering in the ice, there are always 3 people on the watch: watch crew, watch officer and senior captain assistant. There are three of them on the icebreaker, while the captain can only have one in the entire fleet.
We were a few days before the icebreaker went to sea, so for now it’s empty.

Felling outside.

A machine telegraph is a device for sending, from the ship's wheelhouse to the engine room, commands to change the engine operating mode.
The handles control the speed of rotation of the screws, each has a 41 position - 20 forward, 20 back and stop.
Converting screws from Full Forward to Full Back (reversing) takes only 11 seconds.

Oleg tries the steering wheel on the spot of the steering sailor - the icebreaker is controlled quite easily.

Pay attention to the cornice for the curtain around the place of the watchman, where he takes notes in the log.
When the icebreaker goes into the night, the light on the bridge is not turned on, so that you can see what is happening outside. Therefore, the working space is fenced off with a curtain so that the light of the lamp does not interfere.

Radio box

The estimated thickness of ice that the 75 power of thousands of horses allows to overcome is 2,8 meters, that is, it crushes even perennial pack ice into crumb. On the icebreaker, a spoon-shaped form of the nasal tip was used, which allows the ice to be broken so that it does not interfere with the vessels being carried out: the icebreaker will pile on or “float” on the ice and simply break it.

The thickness of the side of the icebreaker is the thickest among the icebreakers of the class "Arctic" - 5 centimeters (others have half a centimeter less).
Its keel is partially covered with a layer of stainless steel to reduce corrosion and friction.

Blue marked ballast compartments where you can pump water, and quickly pump its stern to the bow and back. This is necessary if the icebreaker gets stuck in the ice. Then, by pumping the ballast, the ship is “shaken” like an ax stuck in a log, and it is released from the shackles of ice.
The scheme is larger by click.

The atomic reactor control room is a small nuclear power plant.
The reactors themselves could not be removed, but they look almost the same as on Lenin.

Atomic icebreaker can seriously be called a steamer! Because it works for a couple.
The atomic reactor heats the "dirty" water, that through the heat exchanger transfers the heat to the "clean" water, it turns into superheated steam, which turns the turbines. Turbines spin generators that produce electricity. And it, among other things, goes to electric motors that twist the propellers. On the ship there are two nuclear reactors, the total power of the power plant: 75 000 HP

And this icebreaker is capable of chopping ice with screws. If you can’t get through in any way, then the icebreaker turns around astern and simply chops ice like a fresh carrot. "Going back through the canal, you can see the ice, milled as a half pipe. For the entire transport fleet, contact of the screw with ice is prohibitive, and we are doing this," the captain says.

Here, for example, one blade of a screw with a man for scale.
And in the white top hat there is a large inflatable boat and a supply of survival tools for several days.

The power and capabilities are also impressive: "On the 50-centimeter ice, we will walk like clear water," says Dmitry Lobusov.
Sometimes bears come to the ship. One day, "50 Years of Victory" stood in the ice of the 40 minutes, waiting for the non-scared bear to swim in the melting lake and go out of the way.


In addition to the main task of posting caravans in the Arctic seas, he also carries tourists to the North Pole, visiting the archipelago of Franz Josef Land.

On a cruise on board for tourists, there is a restaurant, gym, sauna, swimming pool, library and music room. There is a satellite TV system.

One example of a menu for the week.

The bar is located under the bridge below the floor and tourists usually spend their free time here.

Deck with cabins.

Emergency breathing devices are spread throughout the ship just in case of fire.

One of the cabins, here you can live both one and two passengers, but then someone will have to sleep on the couch.

Travel to the North Pole is available to everyone, but it costs a lot of money: today there are about $ 30 thousand.
The price includes accommodation, meals, entertainment (except for drinks in the bar).

Stairs between floors.

Conference room where the president once held a meeting.

Music Salon, which also hosts lectures.

Pool water is taken directly from the ocean and can be heated to the desired temperature.


Exercise machine.

Steam up.

The ship has an ecological compartment, specially equipped for waste disposal.

There is also a desalination station on the icebreaker, thanks to which the vessel is completely independent of freshwater resources.

Every day you can produce up to 120 cubic meters of distilled pure water. Half goes to technical needs, half artificially prepares to drinking (by mixing the composition of mineral salts, etc.). Thus, on the vessel no one restricts passengers in the consumption of water.

Turbines, each of which rotates simultaneously three generators, producing alternating current.
Behind them are the current rectifiers.

And all this is buzzing and rumbles ...

Below is the propeller shaft, which turns a huge electric motor. All this is located below the waterline.

The icebreaker has its own repair shop with a full set of metalworking machines, woodwork, etc.
Once the masters were able to carve a small part for a broken helicopter, thereby saving a few weeks.


Own laundry.

Ironing office.

There is also a chemical laboratory designed to control the water regime, drinking water, sample analysis, fuel and oil monitoring, etc. Atomic

A study in which the guys attached a hammer and sickle from an old icebreaker "Russia".

Galyun nuclear-classic.

Looking at this black and red steel giant, it’s hard to believe that the first icebreaker was wooden: the vessel "City Ice Boat #1" was built in 1837 to clean the ice in the harbor of Philadelphia. Then there was the Russian tugboat "Pilot", the legendary first Arctic "Yermak" and other heroes of the conquerors-ices.

In total, with the 1959 to 1991 year in the Soviet Union was built eight nuclear-powered icebreakers and one nuclear-powered lighter. From 1991 of the year to the present, two more nuclear icebreakers were built in Russia: Yamal (1993) and 50 Years of Victory (2007). Three more nuclear icebreakers with a displacement of more than 33 thousand tons are under construction, the ice cover - almost three meters. The first one will be ready for 2017 year.

Visit the "50 years of Victory" in the port is almost impossible. Tours are not conducted. But there are “open doors” in Atomflot, you need to submit a collective application and monitor their website and social networks.

Thanks to Rosatomflot for the opportunity to see everything with my own eyes, and special thanks to the captain for the wonderful excursion!
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. qwert
    qwert 26 May 2016 06: 55
    Here it is the legacy of the Great Soviet Union !!! And why is it still alive? Because there is oil on the northern shelf. And this oil is the one you need. Therefore, the Northern Navy is in a special position. So, here, too, the interests of individuals can sometimes have a greater impact than the interests of the country
  2. A1L9E4K9S
    A1L9E4K9S 26 May 2016 07: 06
    Well, what can I say, a beautiful ship! We can when we want.
  3. godofwar6699
    godofwar6699 26 May 2016 07: 10
    Washington is unlikely to turn to Moscow with a proposal for cooperation on the construction of the icebreakers that it needs, despite the unique experience of the Russian Federation in this area, Grigory Zasypkin, deputy head of the economic section of the Russian embassy in the USA, told RIA Novosti.

    “I doubt very much that they will turn to us for help in terms of technology. This is a political issue. Moreover, there are other countries, also with good experience. Of course, Russia has unique experience. Nobody can compare with us in the technological plan of building icebreakers But the Americans are not going to build a nuclear-powered one, as I understand it. As for conventional icebreakers, well, maybe they can do it themselves. They can attract it. Finns, Swedes, in my opinion, are building well, "he said on the sidelines of the Doing Business with BRICS forum in Washington.
    US President Barack Obama has proposed the construction of a new US icebreaker, with initial funding of $ 150 million to complete the design.

    In the draft budget for 2017, which Obama introduced to Congress, $ 150 million was allocated to complete the design of the icebreaker in order to begin construction by 2020. The White House said that the new heavy icebreaker will provide year-round access to the Arctic region for the US coast guard.

    There are only two icebreakers at the disposal of the United States - the heavy Polar Star, laid down in 1976, and the medium Cutter Healy, laid down in 2000. The U.S. military and administration officials regularly tell Congress that Russia and China have stepped up Arctic exploration, and the U.S. is at risk of becoming a catch-up country.

    Russia has unique experience in building icebreakers. The first Russian serial nuclear icebreaker of Project 22220 (LK-60Ya) was laid down on the A-slipway of the Baltic Shipyard - Shipbuilding. The lead vessel of this series should be delivered to the customer at the end of 2017. The lead nuclear-powered icebreaker "Arktika" will intercept the title of the largest and most powerful icebreaker in the world from "50 Years of Victory".
  4. Vladimirets
    Vladimirets 26 May 2016 07: 33
    Great photo, looked with his mouth open, thanks. good
      PHANTOM-AS 26 May 2016 12: 21
      Quote: Vladimirets
      Great photo, looked with his mouth open, thanks.

      there is still such material from auto travelers! good

  5. Avenich
    Avenich 26 May 2016 07: 53
    It seems that in the 7th photo near the icebreaker the Arctic, the feed is pretty torn apart.
    1. Potter
      Potter 26 May 2016 09: 02
      The feed is of this form, with a recess under the bow of another ship, for tandem work or pushing it out by another icebreaker.
    2. Mik13
      Mik13 26 May 2016 09: 40
      This is the same "dovetail"
      When piloting a caravan, if the capacity of the icebreaker is not enough, the guided vessel, with its bow, rests in this recess and helps break the ice.

      EMNIP, Soviet invention. No one else uses.
      1. Avenich
        Avenich 26 May 2016 10: 23
        As the saying goes, "live and learn". Didn't know about this, thanks for the clarification.
      2. Igor V
        Igor V 26 May 2016 13: 11
        This is a hello to those liberals who claim that the West will not give us technology. Yes, we somehow manage ourselves. smile
      3. Grishka cat
        Grishka cat 26 May 2016 19: 07
        It's called a mustache
      4. Icemaster
        Icemaster 28 May 2018 20: 52
        You are very mistaken about the stern cutaway of the icebreakers.
        1. It is used not to increase the icebreaking capacity of the icebreaker, but at the moment when the vessel cannot independently follow the icebreaker along the channel in the ice. And the icebreaker tows him like a trailer truck. Although I do not deny that there have been cases in history when two icebreakers worked in tandem in this way. But this option is less than a thousandth of a percent of the use of icebreaker stern.
        2. The invention is not Soviet, and even more so is used not only by Russian icebreakers:
        The first ever linear icebreaker Ermak already had something similar:
    3. The comment was deleted.
  6. dsm100
    dsm100 26 May 2016 08: 17
    This is a colossus. To say what is impressive is to say nothing. A real giant to conquer the sea.
  7. code54
    code54 26 May 2016 09: 02
    Impressive !!! I’ve chopped ice with screws, I haven’t heard of this at all! good
    Also, can someone tell me what kind of "Cutlet Redi" dish is on the menu on August 19, Wednesday?
  8. Andreitas
    Andreitas 26 May 2016 09: 48
    Thank you for the article. Always interested in icebreakers. As a child, I remember even stuck an icebreaker model.
  9. kardan
    kardan 26 May 2016 10: 08
    Thanks for the article, read it in one go !! good
  10. Andrey VOV
    Andrey VOV 26 May 2016 10: 33
    Wonderful article .. a super ship !!! Oh, I would go back to my youth to study at the captain of the atromflot)))))) smile
  11. Igor V
    Igor V 26 May 2016 11: 49
    "They don't shoot serials about them, because they are not in the format of channels. And the Internet does not write about them, they do not seem to exist at all ..."
    Thanks to the authors for the article! Without such articles, it is already difficult to believe that we have unique equipment and unique people who manage it.
  12. max702
    max702 26 May 2016 13: 03
    The technique is impressive. With everything regarding these issues, we have a complete order! But when the question of everyday life arises, then at once there is no money and there is no special need .. Here is a photo of a latrine .. I understand that everything was done a long time ago .. but .. damn it today is not the 40s of the 2016th century, but XNUMX! It’s difficult to make cosmetics worth a penny (against the background of the costs of operating an icebreaker), but the view will be one hundred percent! Yes, and amenities for people more. This is very important, and especially not at all expensive!
  13. Alexey RA
    Alexey RA 26 May 2016 13: 11
    Hmm ... and on the sixth photo (ALED "Russia", view from the nose) - is it, for an hour, not an MP-123 sticking out? Gray radar, above the "C" in the title. wink
  14. exo
    exo 26 May 2016 18: 05
    Cool photo review! At one time, I tried to get on icebreakers, serve helicopters. It did not work. But, I keep a letter from the icebreaker "Siberia" as a relic. Some stamps are worth: Delivered by helicopter; Nuclear icebreaker "Siberia"
  15. exo
    exo 26 May 2016 18: 37
    Here it looks like that :)
    1. Grishka cat
      Grishka cat 26 May 2016 19: 15
      I personally put such stamps and sent them home! From "Siberia" in 1987. Eh, youth! on a ship (vessel) there are no floors, but there are decks! But this is by the way. And thanks for the report!
  16. redhate
    redhate 26 May 2016 21: 18
    Thank you, dear Murmansk
  17. Donlomakin
    Donlomakin 26 May 2016 23: 20
    Thanks to the author Marina Lystseva! I read and looked through the photos in one go! More to such articles!
  18. ivanovbg
    ivanovbg 27 May 2016 00: 50
    Great reportage. Ride on an icebreaker in the Arctic, this is my childhood dream and one day I will definitely do it.
  19. DOMINO
    DOMINO 27 May 2016 12: 36
    Oh, ponostalgic winked Passed military service, guarded this base-RTP and icebreakers. Has more than 10 years passed? recourse I remember the first time we were brought young to the base, where we in kind saw the aircraft carrier Kuznetsov and icebreakers - the scale was shocking! And then in two years everything became familiar, it became a routine. Thanks for the flashback!)) And the pictures ...