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US Navy to deploy Arctic navigation, communication, and environmental sensing

US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy conducted operations using the Arctic-capable communications, sending, and navigation system in 2022. (Michael Fabey)

The US Navy (USN) will deploy a new Arctic navigation, communication, and environmental sensing system later in 2023, according to Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations (CNO).

“Our navy continues important communications, surveillance, navigation, marine meteorology, and physical oceanography research activities to improve situational awareness in support of future cold weather high-latitude operations, including the Arctic Submarine Lab and Polar Over-the-Horizon Radar,” Adm Gilday testified on 28 April before the House Armed Services Committee.

“For example, prototype components of the Arctic Mobile Observing System (AMOS) will be deployed in October 2023 using a variety of autonomous platforms over a year-long deployment to demonstrate under-ice navigation, communication, and environmental sensing,” Adm Gilday testified.

US Coast Guard (USCG) medium icebreaker USCGC Healy (WAGB-20) completed operations in the Beaufort Sea during the third quarter of 2022 in support of the AMOS programme, Healy 's Captain Ken Boda told Janes .

At the time of the operations and testing, Healy was on a deployment to eventually reach the North Pole.

Developed and supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), AMOS is a collection of buoys designed for use in the Arctic, as well as unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), meant to operate under ice-covered regions and establish two-way Arctic communications – vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-buoy, or node, and node-to-shore.

Adm Gilday noted the growing importance of Arctic naval operations.

“Our navy defends the homeland and ensures maritime routes remain free and open, fostering compliance with existing rules to assure global peace and prosperity, including in the Arctic region,” the Adm Gilday testified.

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