“U.S. Coast Guard completes Operation Nanook 2021” –News Release

NUUK, Greenland — (Aug. 13, 2021) The USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) transits by an iceberg in the Labrador Sea. The Richard Snyder is a 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter with a crew of around 24. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dyxan Williams.)

Below is an Atlantic Area news release. Perhaps the photo above best conveys the importance of the release. We sent a Webber Class cutter from North Carolina, accompanied by a 270 foot WMEC, North through the Labrador Sea, through the Davis Strait into the Arctic waters of Baffin Bay.

Courtesy Photo | USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) and USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) practice maneuvering with the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Goose Bay (MM 707) in the Davis Strait on Aug. 13, 2021. In Operation Nanook, the U.S. Coast Guard seeks to work collaboratively with other international partners to enhance collective abilities to respond to safety and security issues in the High North through the air and maritime presence activities, maritime domain defense, and security exercises. (Photo courtesy Royal Canadian Navy)

This follows Nanook 2020 when 270 foot WMECs operated North of the Arctic Circle of the first time (and here). This is also part of the first operational deployment of Canada’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship, class leader HMCS Harry DeWolf as she begins a circumnavigation of North America.

Map of the Arctic, with the Arctic Circle in blue and the 10°C July  mean isotherm in red

USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) participates in Operation Nanook in the Davis Strait on Aug. 4, 2021. Snyder worked alongside USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907), the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Harry Dewolf (AOPV 430), and HMCS Goose Bay (MM 707) in Operation Nanook to enhance collective abilities to respond to safety and security issues in the High North through air and maritime presence activities, maritime domain defense, and security exercises. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Richard Snyder)

I note, unlike 2020, the Danes and French are not participating, at least in this “incident management and search and rescue” portion of the exercise.

Resupply in Greenland following the exercise renews a long association between the Coast Guard and Greenland.

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area
Contact: Coast Guard Atlantic Area Public Affairs
Office: (757) 398-6521
After Hours: (757) 641-0763
Atlantic Area online newsroom

U.S. Coast Guard completes Operation Nanook 2021

Escanaba Iceberg USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) participates in Operation Nanook in the Davis Strait on Aug. 4, 2021. Snyder worked alongside USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907), the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Harry Dewolf (AOPV 430), and HMCS Goose Bay (MM 707) in Operation Nanook to enhance collective abilities to respond to safety and security issues in the High North through air and maritime presence activities, maritime domain defense, and security exercises. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Richard Snyder) USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) and USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) practice maneuvering with the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Goose Bay (MM 707) in the Davis Strait on Aug. 13, 2021. In Operation Nanook, the U.S. Coast Guard seeks to work collaboratively with other international partners to enhance collective abilities to respond to safety and security issues in the High North through the air and maritime presence activities, maritime domain defense, and security exercises. (Photo courtesy Royal Canadian Navy)
The Royal Canadian Navy welcomes USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) to Halifax, Nova Scotia, on July 30, 2021. The Snyder and USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) were alongside until Aug. 3 for refueling and resupply before departing as part of the task group sailing for the Arctic on Operation Nanook with HMCS Harry Dewolf (AOPV 430) and HMCS Goose Bay (MM 707). (Photo courtesy Royal Canadian Navy) HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- (Aug. 5, 2021) The Royal Canadian Navy ships HMCS Goose Bay (MM 707) (left) and the HMCS Harry Dewolf (AOPV 430) work on a formation exercise with the U.S. Coast Guard in preparation for Operation Nanook. The U.S. Coast Guard is again participating with partners in Operation Nanook, an annual sovereignty operation and maneuver warfare exercise conducted by the Canadian Armed Forces in the Arctic. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Dyxan Williams) Richard Snyder small boat crew

Editors’ Note: To view more or download high-resolution imagery, click on the photos above.

NUUK, Greenland — Strengthening partnerships and testing interoperability, the USCGC Escanaba (WMEC 907) and USCGC Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) participated in Operation Nanook in early to mid-August.

Operation Nanook is the Canadian Armed Forces’ signature Arctic operation, comprising a series of comprehensive, joint, interagency, and multinational activities designed to exercise the defense of Canada and security in the region and incident management response and search rescue capabilities. With commercial traffic and cruise ships increasingly visible in the Arctic, international collaborations are necessary to meet this increased traffic’s potential search and rescue challenges. Nanook-Tuugaalik is the maritime component of the Nanook series of deployments and training events intended to be an Arctic naval presence operation and domain awareness of the waters in and around Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. Nanook-Tatigiit is the incident management and search and rescue exercise portion.

“We had excellent training with the crews of HMCS Harry Dewolf (AOPV 430), HMCS Goose Bay (MM 707), and Richard Snyder. The joint effort during Tuugaalik and Tatigiit included multi-ship small boat training, formation steaming, hailing and signals exercises, and more. Weather, especially in the Arctic, is a genuine consideration, and increasing sea state and fog tested us,” said Cmdr. Ben Spector, the commanding officer of Escanaba. “The U.S. Coast Guard remains committed to conducting operations and combined maritime exercises throughout the Atlantic and the Arctic region, ensuring mission capacity and future force readiness. Training with our partners and allied nations ensure all countries are ready, relevant, and responsive in an ever-evolving maritime environment.”

This operation is also the first time the U.S. Coast Guard deployed a 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter to the region – USCGC Richard Snyder. As the inventory of FRCs grows, the U.S. Coast Guard continues to test the full range of their capability, including operations in high latitude environments. While these ships are not ice-strengthened, units observed mitigations, such as the deployment time of year and carefully considering operating areas.

“The FRC has fared exceedingly well in the Arctic. Our major concerns were fuel and food, and there have been no issues with either as the cutter continues to steam through the operational area and complete all training and interactions with stellar results,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Bredariol, the commanding officer of Richard Snyder. “We’ve done some once-in-a-lifetime activities including Fjords transits, getting close aboard icebergs much larger than the cutter; restricted waters transits in harsh conditions and deployment to an unfamiliar but mission-critical area. Our colleagues aboard the Escanaba were critical in our deployment, assisting with logistics and operational support. I can’t express enough our appreciation as we deployed far from our normal operations area and completed mission sets that we don’t generally practice. As a cutter based in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, we primarily focus on living marine resources and search and rescue.”

Following Nanook, both ship’s crews are conducting engagements and resupplying in Nuuk (Greenland–Chuck). Snyder will return home. Escanaba will transition to support Frontier Sentinel, an annual exercise between the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and Royal Canadian Navy, ensuring the ability of the Tri-Party Staff and tactical assets to work together. This year’s live exercise uses feedback from the prior year’s tabletop discussion.

Participants in all exercises are observing COVID-19 protocols to mitigate exposure and comply with host nation guidelines. Exercise scenarios took into account our COVID restrictions and respective realities.

Operation Nanook is the third of four major deployments of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Atlantic Arctic Season. In June, the USCGC Eagle (WIX 327) visited Iceland, where Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, the Atlantic Area commander, hosted Icelandic officials for Arctic discussions. Also, in June, the USCGC Maple (WLB 207) participated in the Danish Joint Arctic Command’s annual exercise, Ex Argus, in Southern Greenland with international partners. Later this fall, the USCGC Healy (WAGB 20) will make stops along the U.S. East Coast after transiting the Northwest Passage on their circumnavigation of North America.

Operation Nanook has been held annually since its inception over a decade ago. Last year’s exercise was scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While participants could not conduct port visits, the activity focused on naval readiness, ship tracking, and gunnery operations between multinational partners, including the United States, Canada, Denmark, and France. The U.S. sent the USCGC Tahoma (WMEC 908) and USCGC Campbell (WMEC 909) to participate.

USCGC Escanaba is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter with a crew of about 100 operating for the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. USCGC Richard Snyder is a Fifth Coast Guard District 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter with a crew of about 24 also operating for U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. The Atlantic Area commander and staff oversee all Coast Guard domestic operations east of the Rocky Mountains, including the Arctic, Caribbean, and Southern Atlantic and Coast Guard out-of-hemisphere operations in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.

“Royal Canadian Navy HMCS Harry DeWolf Departs On Her Maiden Operational Deployment” –Naval News

HMCS Harry DeWolf, leaving HMC Dockyard in Halifax and steaming under Angus L. Macdonald
suspension bridge crossing Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia, Canada

Naval News reports the first of Canada’s planned eight Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) (six for their Navy and two for their Coast Guard) departed on its first operational deployment on August 3. The deployment is expected to take four months and will include participation in the annual Nanook Exercise with partners including the USCG, transit of the North West Passage, counter clockwise circumnavigation of North America, and drug operations in the Eastern Pacific transit zone and the Caribbean again in cooperation with the USCG.

USCGC Healy departed for a clockwise circumnavigation of North America on July 10. Presumably these two will arrange to say hello as they pass. Hopefully both crews will be home by Christmas.

Canada’s HMCS Harry DeWolf Class AOPS

HMCS Harry DeWolf in ice (6-8 second exposure)

The Harry DeWolf class is an almost unique type of ship. Canada is building eight, six for their Navy and two for their Coast Guard. It is derived from the similar and perhaps slightly more capable Norwegian Coast Guard vessel Svalbard, which has made it to the North Pole and recently undertook a mission the Healy was unable to complete due to a machinery casualty.

They are classified as “Artic and Offshore Patrol Ships” or AOPS, rather than icebreakers, but they are clearly designed to operate in ice and are rated Polar Class 5 (Year-round operation in medium first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions). In many ways they approximate the similarly sized and powered old Wind Class icebreakers. (2012 post on the class with updates in the comments here.)

Below are another photo and a couple of videos, but first the specs.

  • Displacement: 6,615 t (6,511 long tons)
  • Length: 103.6 m (339 ft 11 in)
  • Beam: 19 m (62 ft 4 in)
  • Draft: 6.5 m (21 ft 4 in) (estimate based on that of Svalbard)
  • Propulsion Generators: Four 3.6 MW (4,800 hp)
  • Propulsion Motors: 2 × 4.5 MW (6,000 hp)
  • Speed: 17 knots
  • Endurance: 6,800 nautical miles
  • Crew: 65 (accomodations for 85)
  • Armament: one 25mm Mk38 remote weapon system modified for Arctic Conditions and two .50 cal. machine guns (I do feel this is inadequate.)

HMCS Harry DeWolf looking forward, bow and 25mm Mk38 remote weapon system.

 

30mm “Swimmer” Round

30x173mm ammunition for Mk44 Bushmaster II

30x173mm ammunition for Mk44 Bushmaster II

Ran across an interesting new type of ammunition, the 30 mm Mk 258 mod 1 APFSDS-T, which appears to be designed specifically to counter Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC). It uses a unique configuration to allow it to maintain high velocity after entering the water. Being an armor-piercing, fin stabilized, discarding sabot, tracer round, I suspect it might help us attack the engine rooms of larger ships. if we upgrade our Mk38 gun mounts to use the 30mm. Might be able to disable propellers and rudders as well.

In a test “…it destroyed a representative FIAC target travelling at 30kts at a range of 4.8km with the first shot.”

It would probably be good against radio controlled boats like the one in the recent attack off Yemen. General Dynamics is advertising that this “swimmer version” is currently available. This might explain why the Navy replaced the 57mm on the DDG-1000 class will 30mm guns. 

There is a bit more in the 2014 NAMMO Bulletin, on page 8 (5/13 on the pdf), under the title “The Navy’s Best Ammunition”;

The nose-shaped configuration was originally patented by the U.S. Navy and NSWC Dahlgren, but was never turned into functional ammunition. Nammo, NSWC Dahlgren and FFI (Norwegian Defense Research Establishment) carried out a comprehensive study that resulted in the final design configuration of the penetrator nose. Today, Nammo’s Mk258 mod 1 ammunition is used on board the LPD-17 and LCS class of U.S. Navy ships. This has significantly increased the fleet’s capability to defeat aerial and surface threats, as well as submerged threats like torpedoes and mines.

At the very least the 110s in Bahrain (or their Webber class replacements–whenever?) probably should have these. I’d like to see them on all the Webber Class WPCs.

Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar

traps-janes-article1

NavyRecognition reports, “GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc. is pleased to announce that it has received a contract through the Build in Canada Innovation Program. Defence Research and Development Canada will test the TRAPS (Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar) variable depth ASW sonar on Royal Canadian Navy ships.”

This system is seen as a possibility for both the twelve Kingston class “Coastal Defense Vessels” (970 tons, slightly smaller than the 210s) and the projected six icebreaking Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships. There is apparently no intention of using these on the more capable frigates.

TRAPS towing configuration, diagram from GeoSpectrum, Canada

TRAPS towing configuration

The system can be fitted in a standard sized 20 foot container.

TRAPS in 20 foot iso container.

TRAPS in 20 foot iso container.

GeoSpectrum claims :

“The modular design of TRAPS provides a variety of installation options, including containerization on multi-mission vessels and standard deck-mounting.

“The TRAPS system is ideal for small combatants such as OPVs, corvettes, ships of opportunity, and USVs. Applications include naval defence/surveillance, drug interdiction, homeland security, and other water-borne policing.”

In addition to detecting submarines and surface vessels, the system is claimed to be usable for:

  • Active torpedo detection
  • Torpedo decoy
  • Passive receiver
  • Black box pinger detection
  • Sonobuoy processor

A typical detection range of 50 nautical miles is claimed. If it works as advertised this might give most of our larger ships an ASW capability and perhaps help us detect semi-submersibles. Thales’ CAPTAS series is similar, with CAPTAS 2 and CAPTAS 1, designed for ships of over 1,500 and 300 tons respectively.

Russians Building Missile Armed Arctic Patrol Vessel

Project23550IceClassPatrolVessel

Concept image issued by the Russian Ministry of Defence of the Project 23550 ice-class patrol ships for the Russian Navy. Source: Russian MoD

Janes360 is reporting that the Russian Ministry of Defense has awarded contracts for two new ice class patrol vessels that are reportedly capable of operating in ice up to 1.5 meters thick (approx. 5 feet).

The class is described (in Russian) by the MoD as being “without analogues in the world”, and combining “the qualities of tug, ice-breaker, and patrol boat”.

To me it looks an awful lot like the Norwegian Coast Guard vessel Svalbard or Canada’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship that is based on the Svalbard’s design.

Jane’s notes, “A concept image released by the MoD showed the vessel armed with a medium-calibre main gun on the foredeck (likely an A-190 100 mm naval gun), a helicopter deck and hangar, and two aft payload bays each fitted with a containerised missile launch system (akin to the Club-K system offered for export) armed with four erectable launch tubes – presumably for either Club anti-ship or Kalibr-NK land-attack missiles. Although billed as patrol boats, this level of armament makes them better armed than many corvettes.”

If these are in fact containerized missile systems, then they may simply be optional equipment, added to the conceptual image to give the ship a bit more swagger, and we may never actually see this. If you are breaking ice for a vessel following close behind, you may not want missiles with their warheads and high energy fuel located near the stern where a collision with a vessel following too close might rupture a missile and start a fire.

It does suggest that a few spaces for containers could turn almost any ship into a potential missile platform.