The US Navy’s Seawolf-class fast attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) returned home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton on May 7 following a tour in the Arctic Circle.
Connecticut was one of three submarines taking part in the biennial exercise ICEX that allows the US Navy to assess its operational readiness in the Arctic.
The other two submarines were the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768) from Groton, Connecticut, and the Royal Navy Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Trenchant (S91).
During the five-week exercise, the US and UK submarines made multiple arctic transits, a North Pole surfacing, scientific data collection and other training evolutions.
“With every ICEX we are able to build upon our existing experience and continue to learn the best way to operate in this unique and harsh environment,” Rear Adm. James Pitts, commander, Undersea Warfare Development Center (UWDC), commented.
“We are constantly testing new tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) under the ice, and this exercise allows us to do so on a larger scale and alongside our UK, joint and academic partners,” Pitts added.
The submarines were supported by a temporary ice camp on a moving ice floe approximately 150 miles off the coast of the northern slope of Alaska in international waters. The ice camp, administered by the Arctic Submarine Laboratory (ASL), is a remote Arctic drifting ice station, built on multi-year sea-ice especially for ICEX that is logistically supported with contract aircraft from Deadhorse, Alaska. The ice camp was be de-established after the exercise conclude.
The ICEX exercise concluded early April.