Reference work entry
“Arktika” (in 1982–1986 was renamed into “Leonid Brezhnev”) – the second heaviest nuclear-powered icebreaker in the world, the main Arctic icebreaker of Arctic class leading icebreakers of the USSR (among the “Sibir,” the “Rossiya,” and others) designed to escort cargos in the Arctic seas. It was constructed in the Baltic Shipyard in Leningrad in 1974. In 1975 it had test operations in the Kara Sea and long-term pack ice in Shokalsky Strait (Severnaya Zemlya). It is 179 m long and 30 m wide, water draft is 11 m, and displacement is 23,460 t. Capacity of atomic energy propulsion is 75,000 hp, maximum speed in open water is 21 knots. The crew comprises 150 people. The hull lines made it possible to break the ice 5 m thick. The ship and its mechanisms are fully automatic. On the stern there is a landing pad and a shed for a helicopter. In August 1977 the “Arktika,” under the command of Captain Y. S. Kuchiev, reached the North Pole. The expedition lasted for 29 days and the icebreaker covered 3,850 miles of which 1,300 miles it went through heavy long-term ice. The course of the “Arktika” was laid off from Murmansk to Cape Zhelaniya, then through the Vilkitsky Strait to the point latitude 80° N and longitude 130° E, and then to the Pole. To commemorate this historic event a metal board with the national state emblem of the USSR was put on the ground of the North Pole. The board contained the name of the ship, location, and the date of the icebreaker’s reaching the Pole. The icebreaker was awarded the Order of the October Revolution. In July 1998 the “Arktika” escorted the German research icebreaker “Polarstern” whose aim was to study the Alpha Ridge included into the area of Central Arctic Highlands in the Arctic Ocean to the east of the Lomonosov Ridge. In 2004 the “Arktika” escorted the research vessel “Akademik Fedorov” which launched a drifting station “SP-33.” In 2012 the icebreaker was excluded from the Naval Vessel Register.
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