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Coast Guard to Use Canada’s Ice Tank for Icebreaker Tests

The U.S. Coast Guard will use an ice tank facility of Canada’s National Research Council to test models of the agency’s future polar icebreakers.

The Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday its science and technology directorate is helping the Coast Guard develop a plan for the test and evaluation of the new ships.

DHS S&T leveraged an existing agreement between the U.S. and Canadian governments to secure the use of the ice tank facility for the icebreaker acquisition program.

The ice tank is designed to simulate a range of marine arctic ice environments to provide controlled, model-scale conditions for the test and evaluation of ice-going ships and structures.

Mini model icebreaker ships will be placed in the tank to demonstrate their power and speed as they attempt to break through the ice.

The test results will inform the design and performance requirements for heavy polar icebreakers, DHS noted.

The Coast Guard wants its future icebreakers to be able to rescue cruise ships trapped in ice; clear the path for natural resource exploration; and keep commerce lanes open or pave new ones, among other missions.

The agency plans to build three new, heavy polar icebreakers to expand its fleet, which currently includes only one icebreaker, the Polar Star.

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