Tag Archives: ice camp sargo

Lots of cold bubbleheads this month

Scheduled to last five weeks, ICEX 2018 has kicked off with a joint NATO effort to show readiness in the Arctic.

The Navy’s Arctic Submarine Laboratory (ASL) and the Canadian Defence Forces have set up Ice Camp Skate on a floe drifting in the Arctic Ocean.

“The base will serve as a temporary base for submarine operations, including under-ice navigation and torpedo exercises. The camp consists of shelters, a command center and infrastructure to safely house and support more than 50 personnel at any one time.”

Ice Camp Skate (March 5, 2018) A Royal Canadian DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft delivering supplies and personnel flies over Ice Camp Skate during camp build during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018. ICEX 2018 is a five-week exercise that allows the Navy to assess its operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic environment, and continue to develop relationships with other services, allies and partner organizations. (U.S. Navy photo by Airman 1st Class Kelly Willett/Released)

“With every ICEX we are able to build upon our existing experience and continue to learn the best way to operate in this unique and harsh environment,” said Rear Adm. James Pitts, commander, Undersea Warfighting Development Center (UWDC). “We are constantly testing new tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) under the ice, and this exercise allows us to do so on a larger scale and alongside our U.K., joint and academic partners.”

USS Hartford (SSN 768) surfaces in the Arctic Circle near Ice Camp Sargo during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. She will make a return to the ice this year, along with some company

Three submarines– Seawolf-class fast attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) from Bangor, Wash., the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) from Groton, Conn., and the Royal Navy Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Trenchant (S91)— will conduct multiple arctic transits, a North Pole surfacing, scientific data collection and other training evolutions during their time in the region.

The floating ice station also conducts oceanography experiments, as shown below with personnel from NAL, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC) Science collecting data through the floe.

Go Cold, Go Bold

For years the U.S. had a series of floating ice stations in the Arctic. These stations, supplied by icebreakers and long range aircraft, endured from 1952 to 1974 and the last abandoned one in existence, ARLIS II, drifted through the Fram Strait in 1983, after being monitored for over 30 years.

In recent years, with the polar region now under increasing pressure from the Soviets Russians, the Navy’s Arctic Submarine Laboratory (ASL), based in San Diego, has been running an annual Ice Exercise (ICEX), a multi-week drill designed to research, test, and evaluate operational capabilities in the region.

160314-N-QA919-151 ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 14, 2016) Sailors and civilians, assigned to Arctic Submarine Lab, clear the ice from the hatch of USS Hampton (SSN 767) during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. ICEX 2016 is a five-week exercise designed to research, test, and evaluate operational capabilities in the region. ICEX 2016 allows the U.S. Navy to assess operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic environment, and develop partnerships and collaborative efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)

160314-N-QA919-151 ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 14, 2016) Sailors and civilians, assigned to Arctic Submarine Lab, clear the ice from the hatch of USS Hampton (SSN 767) during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)

The latest, part of ICEX 2016, uses a West Coast sub, USS Hampton (SSN 767) from San Diego, which surfaced through the pack earlier this month, and USS Hartford (SSN 768) from Groton, Connecticut, to set up U.S. Navy Ice Camp Sargo (as well as pick up their Order of the Blue Nose certificates).

160311-N-QA919-061 Arctic Circle (March 13, 2016) - Ice Camp Sargo, located in the Arctic Circle, serves as the main stage for Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016 and will house more than 200 participants from four nations over the course of the exercise. ICEX 2016 is a five-week exercise designed to research, test, and evaluate operational capabilities in the region. ICEX 2016 allows the U.S. Navy to assess operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic environment, and develop partnerships and collaborative efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)

160311-N-QA919-061 Arctic Circle (March 13, 2016) – Ice Camp Sargo, (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)

Sargo consists of temporary shelters, a command center, and infrastructure to safely house and support more than 70 personnel at any one time. It will house more than 200 participants from four nations over the course of the exercise.

160314-N-QA919-369 ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 14, 2016) Students with MIT deploy the MACRURA Unmanned Underwater Vehicle during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. ICEX 2016 is a five-week exercise designed to research, test, and evaluate operational capabilities in the region. ICEX 2016 allows the U.S. Navy to assess operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic environment, and develop partnerships and collaborative efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)

160314-N-QA919-369 ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 14, 2016) Students with MIT deploy the MACRURA Unmanned Underwater Vehicle during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)

160309-N-QA919-991 ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 9, 2016) Aerographer's Mate 1st Class Daryl Meer, assigned to Fleet Weather Center Norfolk, sets up an Advanced Automated Weather Observation System during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. ICEX 2016 is a five-week exercise designed to research, test, and evaluate operational capabilities in the region. ICEX 2016 allows the U.S. Navy to assess operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic Environment, and develop partnerships and collaborative efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler N. Thompson)

160309-N-QA919-991 ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 9, 2016) Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Daryl Meer, assigned to Fleet Weather Center Norfolk, sets up an Advanced Automated Weather Observation System during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler N. Thompson)

U.S. Navy and Coast Guard divers execute a dive under an ice flow in the Arctic Ocean during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016 at Ice Camp Sargo on March 10, 2016. Units – Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, Regional Dive Locker West and Regional Dive Locker Pacific

The camp gets its namesake from USS Sargo (SSN 583), the first submarine to conduct a winter Bering Strait transit in 1960 and a subsequent North Pole surfacing. ICEX 2015’s base camp was Ice Camp Skate after USS Skate (SSN 578), the first U.S. submarine to surface through arctic ice at the North Pole in March, 1959; while ICEX 2014 had Ice Camp Nautilus named of course after USS Nautilus (SSN 571), which made the first transit under the pole in 1958.

Skate cracking the ice back in the day

Skate cracking the ice back in the day