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US teams with Canadian researchers on new heavy icebreaker

Aug 15, 2017 12:10 PM

Experiments in Newfoundland utilize a large tank that can simulate sea ice

Courtesy National Research Council of Canada

The following is the text of a news release from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC):

(ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland) — On July 26, the National Research Council of Canada hosted dignitaries from the United States Coast Guard (USCG), United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate, and United States (U.S.) Navy to discuss and showcase progress made on the testing and evaluation of design models for the U.S. heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program. During this phase, the NRC is conducting environmental characterization of ice conditions using physical modeling from its ice tank.

“This collaboration benefits both countries as they engage in vital research and development to improve the technology of icebreaking ships,” said Iain Stewart, president of the NRC. “Our knowledge of how ships and offshore structures can operate in harsh environmental conditions combined with our world-class research facilities and expertise positions Canada as a strategic partner in providing safety and efficiency to the new U.S. polar icebreakers.”

The testing is assessing the models’ maneuverability in ice and icebreaking resistance, building baseline requirements for new U.S. heavy polar icebreakers, and expanding the current design and operational knowledge. The Canadian and U.S. governments are also working on the long-term management of the polar icebreaker’s hull integrity, which they will assess through field trials.

"Model testing activities enable us to examine critical design elements and make informed design decisions early in the acquisition process," said Rear Adm. Michael Haycock, U.S. Coast Guard assistant commandant for acquisition and chief acquisition officer. "The data we gather from model testing at the NRC is going to be a major driver of our heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program's success and will be critical to our efforts to effectively manage costs, mitigate risks, and maintain an accelerated program schedule."

This partnership was formalized through the Critical Infrastructure Protection and Border Security (CIPABS) Agreement, managed by the Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS), an Agency of the Department of National Defence, on behalf of the government of Canada, alongside DHS S&T who manages it on behalf of the U.S. government. The results of this partnership will boost the knowledge and expertise of both the United States and Canada in icebreaking ship technologies.

“This is a wonderful example of international and cross-component collaboration,” said DHS Undersecretary (Acting) for Science and Technology William N. Bryan. “Supporting the operational mission of DHS is why Science & Technology exists. In this case, I am particularly proud that S&T is able to work with our neighbors to the north and bring their expertise to bear on supporting the mission of the Coast Guard.”

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