The U.S. Navy has begun a study to analyze the melting of Arctic’s ice sheet as the military service looks to increase its presence in the region, DoD Buzz reported Monday.
Kris Osborn writes Martin Jeffries, a science adviser at the Office of Naval Research, said the initiative could help the branch predict the pace of sea ice melt and decide whether to bolster its Arctic fleet in the next two decades.
“Our goal is to better understand what is happening in that marginalized zone in the summertime so that we can understand the retreats of ice we have seen in recent years,” Jeffries told Military.com.
He noted to the publication that Navy scientists use ONR-built Seaglider underwater drones to collect information beneath the frozen Arctic Ocean.
Jeffries added the naval scientific team has deployed more than 100 autonomous robots for underwater data gathering in the ice and the ocean as of summer 2014, according to Osborn’s article.
Osborn reports the U.S. Navy launched the research after the Russian navy unveiled plans to grow its Arctic presence and believes that the opening up of Arctic waterways could offer Russian vessels more access routes to North America.