Antarctic Support Ship “Almirante Saldanha” for Brazil

SeaWaves reports,

After research and studies conducted by the Brazilian Navy (MB), the future Antarctic Support Ship (NApAnt) had its name chosen: “Almirante Saldanha”. TheNApAntwill reduce the refueling time of the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station (EACF), due to cranes with greater load and maneuverability, and will be better equipped for the launch of camps and will have greater autonomy to expand support for research.

The new ship will replace the Oceanographic Support Ship “Ary Rongel” and will have more modern technical resources such as the navigation and control system, which will allow closer approach of the ship to the beach for landing personnel and material, safely.

There is no indication that the ship is an icebreaker, but it will certainly be ice strengthened. According to Janes, the ship will be delivered in 2025 and,

“The ship will displace approximately 5,880 tonnes for a length of 93.9 m, a width of 18.5 m, a draught of 6 m, cruising speed of 12 kt, endurance of 70 days, and a crew of 95, including 26 researchers.”

This is the ship being replaced:

Oceanographic support vessel ‘Ary Rongel’. Marinha do Brasil picture

 

“MEDIA ADVISORY: America’s only heavy icebreaker departs Seattle Wednesday; bound for Antarctica” –PACAREA

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star cuts through Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea near a large group of seals as the ship’s crew creates a navigation channel for supply ships, January 16, 2017. The resupply channel is an essential part of the yearly delivery of essential supplies to the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station.US Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley

Media Advisory

U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area

MEDIA ADVISORY: America’s only heavy icebreaker departs Seattle Wednesday; bound for Antarctica

Polar Star and crew in Antarctica

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

Who: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB 10) and crew 

What: Polar Star and crew are scheduled to depart Seattle, en route to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze

When: Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022 at 2 p.m.

Where: U.S. Coast Guard Base Seattle

SEATTLE — The United States’ only heavy icebreaker, Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, is scheduled to depart its Seattle homeport, Wednesday.

This annual journey to Antarctica is conducted in support of Operation Deep Freeze, a joint military service mission to resupply the United States Antarctic stations of the National Science Foundation, the lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program.

The Polar Star crew conducts this essential mission to create a navigable path through ice as thick as 21-feet, to allow refuel and resupply ships to reach McMurdo Station, the largest Antarctic station and the logistics hub of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

The U.S. Coast Guard is recapitalizing its polar icebreaker fleet to ensure access to the Polar Regions, project U.S. sovereignty, and to protect the country’s economic, environmental and national security interests. To support this endeavor, the U.S. Coast Guard is exploring options to expand Base Seattle infrastructure to support the growing icebreaker fleet.

Media are encouraged to contact Coast Guard District 13 Public Affairs at 206-251-3237 or uscgd13@gmail.com to arrange an escort at Base Seattle to attend the ship’s departure. The commanding officer of the Polar Star, Capt. Keith Ropella, may be available for interview prior to the ship’s departure.

“JUST IN: No Room to Accelerate Icebreaker Program, Coast Guard Chief Says” –National Defense

Photo of a model of Halter Marine’s Polar Security Cutter seen at Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exhibition have surfaced. Photo credit Chris Cavas.

National Defense reports,

“The commandant of the Coast Guard dashed hopes Jan. 12 that a much needed new icebreaker will be delivered any sooner than 2025.”

The projected delivery has already slipped a year to May 2025, but the Commandant’s remarks did not sound confident that there will be no further delays.

“The goal right now would be to continue to work with the Navy integrated project office, continue to work with the shipbuilder, finish up the complex detail design [work] and start cutting steel here in ’22,” Schultz said. “If we stay on that track line … I am guardedly optimistic we will take delivery of that ship in ‘25 and be off to the races.”

We are putting a lot on the crew of Polar Sea. They have been having extended yard periods away from home port every year. So far, they have met repeated challenges to keep the old girl running, but we cannot really expect our luck to hold.

“Naval shipyard Tandanor to build new icebreaker for Argentina” –Navy Recognition

Artist rendering of the future icebreaker for Argentinian Navy (Picture source: Argentinian MoD)

Navy Recognition reports, state owned “Tandanor Naval Shipyard will proceed to the construction of a polar ship for the Argentinian Navy.”

“The new polar ship will have a length of 131,5 m, a beam of 23,6 m, and could reach a top speed of 16 knots.”

That is 431’4″ long and 77’5″ of beam.

Argentina is moving to strengthen their claim on territory in Antarctica.

In 2015 they completed repairs on their only icebreaker which had suffered a serious fire in 2007.

In 2019 Argentina contracted for four Offshore Patrol Vessels, three of which were to be ice-strengthened. Two of the ice-strengthened OPVs have already been delivered and the third should be delivered this year.

Argentina’s claim on Antarctica overlaps those of the UK and Chile.

 

“U.S. Coast Guard cutter completes North American circumnavigation” –The Watch

The NORTHCOM website, “The Watch” reports on USCGC Healy’s circumnavigation of North America.

There is a related story at MyCG about Polar Regions Technology Evaluation (PRTE), “Coast Guard research aimed at improving performance at high latitudes.” It includes some information about what Polar Star is doing.

Polar Star to Depart for Antarctica Saturday, Nov. 13 –News Release

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star cuts through Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea near a large group of seals as the ship’s crew creates a navigation channel for supply ships, January 16, 2017. The resupply channel is an essential part of the yearly delivery of essential supplies to the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station.US Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley

united states coast guard

Media Advisory U.S. Coast Guard 13th District Pacific Northwest

MEDIA ADVISORY: America’s only heavy icebreaker departs Seattle homeport Saturday; bound for Antarctica

Nation's only heavy icebreaker reaches fast ice of Antarctica

Editors’ Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

Who: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) with crew and numerous scientists

What: Departing Seattle, en route to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze

When: Departing 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021

Where: U.S. Coast Guard Base Seattle

SEATTLE — The United States’ only heavy icebreaker, Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10), is scheduled to depart its homeport in Seattle Saturday.

This annual journey to Antarctica is conducted in support of Operation Deep Freeze, a joint military service mission to resupply the United States Antarctic stations of the National Science Foundation, the lead agency for the United States Antarctic Program.

The women and men aboard the Polar Star conduct this essential mission to create a navigable path through ice as thick as 21 feet, to allow refuel and resupply ships to reach McMurdo Station, the largest Antarctic station and the logistics hub of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

The U.S. Coast Guard is recapitalizing its polar icebreaker fleet to ensure access to the Polar Regions, project U.S. sovereignty, and to protect the country’s economic, environmental and national security interests. To support this endeavor, the U.S. Coast Guard is exploring options to expand Base Seattle infrastructure to support the growing icebreaker fleet.

Media are encouraged to contact Coast Guard public affairs at 206-251-3237 to arrange an escort at Base Seattle to attend the ship’s departure. The commanding officer of the Polar Star, Capt. Willaim Woityra, may be available for virtual interview on Friday morning and in-person at 11 a.m. Saturday prior to the 1 p.m. departure.

“GA-ASI Flies MQ-9 in the Canadian Arctic” –Seapower

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ MQ-9A “Big Wing” UAS flew in the hostile climate of the Canadian Arctic. GA-ASI

The Navy League’s Seapower website reports,

 In a flight that originated from its Flight Test and Training Center (FTTC) near Grand Forks, North Dakota, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) flew a company-owned MQ-9A “Big Wing” configured unmanned aircraft system north through Canadian airspace past the 78th parallel, the company said in a Sept. 10 release.

A traditional limitation of long-endurance UAS has been their inability to operate at extreme northern (and southern) latitudes, as many legacy SATCOM datalinks can become less reliable above the Arctic (or below the Antarctic) Circle – approximately 66 degrees north. At those latitudes, the low-look angle to geostationary Ku-band satellites begins to compromise the link. GA-ASI has demonstrated a new capability for effective ISR operations by performing a loiter at 78.31° North, using Inmarsat’s L-band Airborne ISR Service (LAISR).

The 78th parallel lies more than 1200 nautical miles North of Kodiak. Getting any kind of air recon that far north, other than perhaps icebreaker based helicopters, has always been difficult.

Even our icebreakers have difficulty communicating. Satellite coverage at these high latitudes is spotty at best.

The ability to operate UAS in this environment could substantially improve our Polar Domain Awareness and serve as a communications relay for multiunit operations in the Arctic or Antarctic.

The high altitude capability of these aircraft also provides a far larger view than would be possible from a helicopters. The horizon distance from 45,000 feet is about 250 nautical miles.

“SOLVING COMMUNICATIONS GAPS IN THE ARCTIC WITH BALLOONS” –CIMSEC

A NASA long duration balloon is prepared for launch on Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf near McMurdo Station in 2004. (NASA photo)

CIMSEC provides a discussion of the possibility of using high altitude balloons as communications links in the Arctic.

Even if balloons are not the answer, the article at least does an excellent job of outlining the difficulties of communicating in the Arctic (or Antarctic).