Arctic ice crack concludes US submarine drill one week early

Ice Camp Sargo served as the main stage for Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. Photo: US Navy
Ice Camp Sargo served as the main stage for Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. Photo: US Navy

A crack in the ice floe caused the U.S. Navy to announce that ICEX 2016 was concluding a week earlier and that the breakdown of ice camp Sargo, constructed for the purposes of the submarine exercise held in the Arctic, was underway.

“With the primary objectives met and indications of adverse environmental conditions, specifically a crack on the ice floe, that could impact the future safety of the Camp, the decision was made to conclude Ice Camp operations seven days early”, the Navy said.

The two submarines that took part in the exercise will continue operations as planned. They will remain in Arctic waters through early April.

The 2016 edition of the Ice Exercise (ICEX) was kicked off March 2 by the construction of the temporary camp which supported the Navy’s aim to research, test and evaluate operational capabilities in the Arctic region.

A highlight of the exercise was the arrival of two Los Angeles-class submarines, USS Hartford and USS Hampton, at the ice camp. You can watch a video of USS Hartford breaking the Arctic ice to surface at its destination here.

Ice Camp Sargo was comprised of a series of portable lodging huts, dining and storage facilities, and a command post, and was serviced by two primary frozen runways and two backup runways. The Camp was built on a large floating sheet of ice called an ice floe, nearly 200 miles north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.