Here’s something we haven’t seen before: Pictures of two U.S. Navy submarines that broke through the ice and surfaced below the Arctic Circle. The fast-attack subs, the USS Hartford (SSN 768) and the USS Connecticut (SSN 22), were taking part in a multi-national training exercise in the Beaufort Sea. They were joined by the Royal Navy sub HMS Trenchant. After the surfacing, the crews joined a temporary ice camp on a moving ice floe about 150 miles off the northern slope of Alaska in international waters.
The exercise is designed to train submarine crews how to operate in extreme cold conditions. The Arctic is one of the most challenging ocean environments on earth, and the ice cap presents unique problems for submarine navigation and communication. “Having both submarines on the surface is clear demonstration of our proficiency in the Arctic,” said Rear Admiral James Pitts, Commander, Undersea Warfighting Development Center.
Submarines increasingly are using the Arctic as a transit route. The first crossing of the Arctic under the ice was by the USS Nautilus in 1958; the first Arctic surfacing was by the USS Skate a year later.
Read more from the Defense Department: