Russia developing 200 kilowatt lasers and mounting them on combat icebreakers

Russia is building two new icebreakers designed patrol the Arctic Ocean, capable of smashing through five feet of sea ice and Russia will add 30 to 200 kilowatt high-powered lasers. Russia began construction of two Project 23550, the Ivan Papanin-class icebreakers.

The two ships will displace about 8,500 tons, about the size of modern destroyers, but much of that weight is due to the reinforced hull needed by icebreakers to plow through thick sea ice. Dimensionally, the Papanin class will be only about the size of a frigate. The ships will carry one AK-176MA 3-inch multipurpose deck gun (76.2-millimeter), a Kamov Ka-27 search and rescue helicopter, and eight Kalibr anti-ship missiles or longer-range cruise missile variants. The ships will be powered by diesel electric engines mounted in azipods generating a combined horsepower of 9,160 horsepower, and will carry bow thrusters for precise maneuvering.

Later this year Russian engineers will test a 30-kilowatt laser on the icebreaker Dikson, with an eye toward eventually fielding a 200-kilowatt seagoing laser.

The Project 23550 ship, laid down at the St. Petersburg Admiralty Shipyards in April, is expected to be delivered to the Navy by 2020. A second Ivan Papanin-class vessel is expected to be laid down in late 2017 or early 2018. Russia is also building several other similar Arktika-class ice breakers.

Russia is putting a lot more emphasis and building more ships able to traverse and stake claims in the arctic. Canada and The USA have minimal arctic ice capable ships.