UK forces joined forces with the US to practise operations in the icy waters to ensure the two nations were prepared for future global threats. The main UK ship involved was called the HMS Kent. Commander Matt Sykes, Commanding Officer of HMS Kent, said: “I am delighted for HMS Kent to have this opportunity to work with our US allies.
“Conducting an exercise in the Arctic Circle is a new challenge for the ship’s company whose dedication and professionalism in preparing for this exercise have been impressive.
“The challenges of working in this extreme environment should not be underestimated but HMS Kent’s presence here continues to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the north Atlantic and high north.
“Finally, I would like to thank the friends and families of HMS Kent for their unswerving support throughout this period.”
HMS Kent joined two American destroyers, a nuclear submarine, a support ship, and a long-range maritime patrol aircraft above the Arctic Circle performing their actions in challenging environmental conditions.
The British ship linked up with the US Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the USS Donald Cook, and the USS Porter.
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The Royal Navy maneuvers also involved simulated actions wit the fast combat support ship USNS Supply.
Other craft in the operation were the American P8-A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and a US nuclear-powered submarine.
The Portsmouth-based frigate HMS Kent was joined by her Merlin helicopter from 814 Naval Air Squadron.
The Arctic exercise comes on the back of Anglo-US anti-submarine warfare training in UK waters just a few weeks ago.
Arctic sea ice is melting at a more rapid rate than other ice sheets in the world over.
The seabed of the region has been scanned and has revealed large chambers of natural gas.
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Both the UK and the US are committed to ensuring no nation dominates the Arctic region, which is assuming growing importance in the face of increased activity and melting polar ice.
In 2019 a Russian navy expedition chartered islands that used to be covered in the ice sheet, a forerunner in making use of the changing Arctic landscape.
According to the Russian Geographical Society, between 2015 and 2018, more than 30 new islands, capes and bays have been discovered in the region.
The latest discovery includes an island as large as 54,500 square metres – an area equivalent to the size of more than seven football pitches.
The Arctic is a region of global political and economic importance, its ocean connects Asia, Europe, and North America.
Around ninety percent of international trade takes place within these three continents.
The region hosts massive stores of untapped resources, including a large portion of the world’s buried petroleum.
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