US Coast Guard to test icebreaker models in Canada

Models are tested in an ice tank facility used to measure performance and evaluate the safety of ice-going ships in controlled model-scale conditions at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Photo: NRC

The U.S. Coast Guard will test potential heavy polar icebreaker design models at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) in St John’s, Newfoundland.

Announced by the U.S. Coast Guard’s acquisition directorate, the government to government agreement for the  heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program testing will help the U.S. Coast Guard to better optimize designs.

The partnership is being facilitated by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and was developed under the Agreement between the U.S. and Canada for cooperation in science and technology for critical infrastructure protection and border security, enacted in 2004.

Model and test activities at the NRC are scheduled to formally begin in April 2017.

The testing, which includes analyses of maneuverability in ice and icebreaking resistance and powering, will be used to further inform the baseline requirements for new heavy polar icebreakers, expand current icebreaker design and operational knowledge, and support the urgent need to recapitalize U.S. heavy icebreaking capability.

The NRC is home to 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 is capable of modeling a wide range of marine ice conditions, including first-year and multiyear ice, pack ice, ridged ice and glacial ice.

In addition to the modeling work that will be conducted at the NRC, the Coast Guard and 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.

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