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Coast Guard Adm. Paul Zukunft Pegs Icebreaker Construction Cost at Less Than $1B

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Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, has said he estimates that U.S. shipyards can help build the service branch’s first heavy icebreaker within 20-year timeframe for less than $1 billion, Breaking Defense reported Tuesday.

Zukunft told audience at a Center for Strategic and International Studies-hosted event Tuesday that the real cost of the icebreaker acquisition lies in developing local shipyards’ capacity to construct such vessels since Polar Star, the last heavy icebreaker to be built in U.S., was commissioned 40 years ago.

The report said he seeks to demonstrate to industry that construction of an icebreaker fleet is a “worthwhile investment.”

Zukunft noted the Coast Guard aims to deploy the first new icebreaker by 2023 to replace Polar Star.

The service branch currently plans to build three heavy and three medium icebreakers in two phases.

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