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Russia unveils new icebreaker, the first in 45 years

The Russian Ilya Muromets icebreaker

Russia has launched the first member of its new generation of diesel-electric icebreakers built for the country’s Navy for the first time in 45 years.

The Ilya Muromets, the lead icebreaker of the Project 21180, was floated out in the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea during a ceremony in St. Petersburg on Friday, almost a year after its construction began at the Admiralty Yard in the northwestern city.

The gigantic vessel, designed to explore northern latitudes, has a cruising range of 12,000 nautical miles (22,224 kilometers), and can operate autonomously for two months. It is also able to break through ice fields as thick as 80 centimeters (over 31 inches) to make a passage for other ships.

The multitask ship is 85 meters (279 feet) long and 20 meters (65 feet) wide, and has a draft of seven meters (23 feet) with a dead weight of 6,000 tons. The icebreaker also maintains a cruise speed of 15 knots (28 kilometers per hour), and can carry a crew of 32 people.

The non-nuclear vessel can also tug ships and transport a certain amount of cargo to deliver to remote and secluded military installations.

The Ilya Muromets will be added to the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet next year and once its performance is assessed, other Ilya Muromets-class icebreakers will be built and transferred to the navy.

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