The U.S. Navy is concluding its Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2022 this week, wrapping up nearly three weeks of research and training on, above and below Arctic Ocean ice. In addition to Ice Camp Queenfish, a temporary encampment built on a sheet of ice 160 nautical miles offshore, the exercise involved two operational Navy fast attack submarines and a support team stationed in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Joining the U.S. armed forces for ICEX 2022 were personnel from the Royal Canadian Air Force and Navy, and the United Kingdom Royal Navy.
During ICEX, participating fast attack submarines under the Arctic sea ice fired exercise torpedoes, which Navy divers then recovered from the frigid water. The exercise also provided an opportunity for Navy specialists and civilian scientists to conduct research from the floating ice camp, collecting data on the Arctic conditions and how equipment responds to the extreme temperatures. ICEX allows the Navy to assess its operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic environment, and continue to develop relationships with other services, allies and partner organizations.
“The Navy maintains a presence on, under and above Arctic waters, and it’s important that we continue to train in this challenging environment to not only stay ready to operate here, but also gain efficiency and look for new ways to innovate. The Arctic is an unforgiving, rapidly changing region. Several chokepoints near or above the Arctic Circle – such as the Bering Strait, Bear Gap between the Norwegian and Barents seas, and the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom Gap – are seeing increases in commercial maritime activity,” said Rear Adm. Richard Seif, commander of the Navy’s Undersea Warfighting Development Center in Groton, Connecticut, and ranking officer at ICEX 2022.
ICEX 2022 is taking place in the Arctic region at the same time as U.S. Northern Command’s Arctic Edge, a biennial exercise designed to provide realistic and effective training for participants using the premier training locations available throughout Alaska, ensuring the ability to rapidly deploy and operate in the Arctic. Arctic Edge takes place over the course of three weeks and will have approximately 1,000 participants, including U.S. and Canadian service members, U.S. Coast Guardsmen, and government employees from the U.S. Department of Defense and Canada’s Department of National Defence.