The Arctic is becoming a new front of great power competition, says GlobalData

The Arctic and High North region are becoming increasingly important as climate change reveals both resources and sea routes. Technological advances such as new icebreakers and unmanned systems facilitate the expansion of both military power projection and commercial opportunity in the region, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest release, ‘Arctic and High North-Thematic research’, states that heightened tension has compelled Arctic countries to modernize their military bases and open new ones, procure C4ISR systems in order to increase situational awareness and shorten the reaction time against threats, and develop the facilities and capabilities to operate effectively in one of the world’s most extreme environments. Artic countries’ (excluding Island) total defense budget is expected to value US$856.3 billion in 2021 and will grow at a CAGR of 1.41% to value US$905.6 billion by 2025.

Captain Nurettin Sevi, Turkish Navy, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “After a short period of stagnation in the wake of the cold war, Arctic countries – especially Russia – have been enhancing their military activities in the region. Military activities and marine traffic passing through the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and the Northwest Passage have significantly increased in the last decade.”

“While the prospect of immediate conflict in the Arctic is highly unlikely, territorial disputes such as overlapping continental shelf claims and Russian and Canadian claims on the Arctic sea routes, combined with Russia’s increasing assertiveness, have sparked security concerns in the region.

“Advanced military systems such as hypersonic missiles, nuclear-powered icebreakers and submarines, and unmanned systems have all been used and tested in the area in recent years.

“Arctic countries have been targeting expenditure on procuring the latest technology and equipment and training their military forces in cold-weather environments as a result. Increased use of unmanned systems and satellite-based solutions to overcome challenges stemming from the unique nature of conducting operations in the region are expected in the coming years.”

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