Icebreaker HMS Protector has left the UK bound for the Antarctic.

A major refit confined her to Middlesbrough for much of 2020.

According to a Royal Navy news release:

“She ‘warmed up’ for work in sub-zero temperatures by sailing into the Arctic in June to practise crunching ice, venturing further north than any Royal Navy vessel within recent memory – just 1,050 kilometres from the top of the world. On this deployment, however, her work initially will be concentrated in the warmer climes of two of Britain’s South Atlantic territories: Ascension Island – In the middle of the ocean between Brazil and Angola – and, 800 miles to the southeast, St Helena.

Some of the stretches of water around the remote islands have not been surveyed in 200 years, so Admiralty Charts – used not just by the Royal Navy, but seafarers the world over – need updating courtesy of the latest sonar and surveying equipment Protector carries.

The ship will begin her polar work in December at the height of the austral summer – temperatures can creep just above freezing – visiting UK and international research stations peppered around the British Antarctic Territory, and extensively surveying the seabed here.”

Commanding Officer Captain Michael Wood said his ship’s return to Antarctica “highlights the Navy and nation’s determination to contribute to climate science and limit climate change. I am proud of the very hard yards this team made to reset the ice patrol ship. It’s time now for new adventures at the other end of the world.”

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Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago

Yes! I’m first lol. Anyone know how much the size difference between HMS protector and HMS Endurance has on life on board. The 2 helicopters of endurance is maybe mitigated by drones etc. Wondered about living conditions, work spaces etc
When u see the tonnage it seems massive difference between the 2

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

At least the Lynx could drop or pick up supplies, people.

The drones are mere toy aeroplanes.

Fine for filming but I wish we would get on with it with drones and get something bigger and more useful from RN vessels.

andy a
andy a
2 months ago

yeah when you look at the jet drones the NSA/CIA and the rest field they make the predator and some of our small uav look pathetic. I dont understand the wait great force multiplier

Julian
Julian
2 months ago

Definitely. For RN use with 5 x River Batch 2 in service I think a size limit of being able to hangar one (as in house and also have enough space to do basic under-cover maintenance) in a standard 20′ ISO container would be an important upper size limit so that they could be embarked either side, or even both sides of the B2 crane. That still gives a lot of headroom beyond the “toy aeroplane” classes. Schiebel S-100 for instance is 200kg max takeoff weight, 3.11 metres long and 1.24 metres wide (not sure if that is fuselage width… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian

Yes the uk could play a massive part in uav development and production. The next few years will be interesting times to see what is coming out of projects that are running. Industry should take a lead aswell with prototypes, interesting designs etc.
As for HMS protectors replacement this could be a really interesting design with a massive jump in capabilities. I really hope they push the boat out so to speak. Not so much money wise but design and equipment wise.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago

Hah! Be careful what you wish for unless we end up with another Watchkeeper programme. IMO, its very easy in this fast moving UAS space to commit to the wrong platforms, or too many different platforms in the hunt for what works best. This may be why the RN along with other navies, seem to be taking their time committing in numbers to UAS platforms. What the RN’s PROTEUS RWUAS concept suggests in their 2030 vision is something large enough to complement Wildcat and Merlin in their missions, including deploying sonarbouys and long endurance surveillance. Such a platform would also… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

A typically comprehensive reply.

That’s put my impatience in its place hasn’t it! 😆

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago

We want it all and we want today dammit!  😀 

But seriously I’ll be very impressed if the RN manages to deliver on the following by 2030

Future Maritime Aviation Force - 2030.jpg