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Coast Guard Participates in Icebreaker Model Testing Demonstration With DHS, National Research Council of Canada (NRC)

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The Coast Guard on July 26 participated in an icebreaker model testing demonstration

The Coast Guard on July 26 participated in an icebreaker model testing demonstration at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. (From left) Jim Millan, NRC Director of Research & Development, Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering portfolio; Stephen Hutchison, Director of the Capability Development Support Group, DHS Science and Technology Directorate; David Murrin, NRC General Manager, Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering portfolio; Rear Adm. Michael Haycock, U.S. Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Acquisition &. Chief Acquisition Officer; and NRC President Iain Stewart. National Research Council Canada photo.


The Coast Guard on July 26 participated in an icebreaker model testing demonstration at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The U.S. and Canadian governments established a partnership earlier this year, enabling the U.S. Coast Guard heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program to test and validate potential heavy polar icebreaker design models at the NRC’s ice tank facility.

"Model testing activities enable us to examine critical design elements and make informed design decisions early in the acquisition process," said Rear Admiral 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 is a wonderful example of international and cross-component collaboration,” said DHS Under Secretary (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.”

The testing, which includes analyses of maneuverability in ice and icebreaking resistance and powering, will inform the final requirements for new heavy polar icebreakers. The data collected from the test events will also be used to expand current icebreaker design and operational knowledge.

The NRC administers 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 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.

The model testing 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 (CIPABS), enacted in 2004. Coast Guard icebreaker model and test activities at the NRC formally began in April 2017; the first test runs were conducted the following month. Testing of various hull and propulsion configurations will continue through the summer.

Defense Research and Development Canada Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS) manages the CIPABS agreement on behalf of the Government of Canada.

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.

For more information: Polar Icebreaker program page