USCG to test polar icebreaker models at Canada's National Research Council

The US Coast Guard (USCG) is to test and validate potential heavy polar icebreaker design models at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) in St John’s, Newfoundland.

The polar icebreaker acquisition programme testing forms a part of an agreement signed between the US and Canadian governments.

The testing will analyse manoeuvrability in ice and icebreaking resistance.

Testing results will be used to further define the baseline requirements for new heavy polar icebreakers, expand current icebreaker design and operational knowledge, and support the urgent need to recapitalize US heavy icebreaking capability.

The model and test activities are scheduled to formally begin in April this year.

In addition to the modelling work, the USCG and the US Navy will conduct additional model test work to evaluate the performance of the icebreaker in open water at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, in Bethesda, Maryland.

The US-Canada partnership is being facilitated by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, USCG stated.

An agreement was signed in 2004 between the US and Canada for cooperation in science and technology for critical infrastructure protection and border security.

The NRC houses one of the world’s largest ice tank facilities, which is used to measure the performance and evaluate the safety of ice-going ships and structures in controlled model-scale conditions.

The NRC ice tank has been designed to model a wide range of marine ice conditions, including first-year and multiyear ice, pack ice, ridged ice and glacial ice.