Arctic/Antarctic

HMS Lancaster Completes Operations In High North

The warship, fresh from a major refit, gained experience of operating in the sub-zero conditions of the icy environment.

HMS Lancaster has completed three days of operations in the High North - the second time the Royal Navy has sailed into the Arctic Circle in two months.

By sailing into the North Cape, the warship gained experience of operating in sub-zero conditions in the icy High North environment, enhancing the UK's cold weather capability.

On approaching the Arctic Circle, the Type 23 frigate took the opportunity to gain training experience alongside the Norwegian Navy, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said.

Norwegian warship HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen joined HMS Lancaster for a passing exercise, following previous shared activity in the region earlier this year.

In September, the UK led a multi-national task group into the region.

The force included Norwegian frigate Thor Heyerdahl and US Navy destroyer USS Ross. 

Changes to the Arctic landscape caused by declining sea ice levels have opened up new trade routes and raised the risk of economic competition.

Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said: "The High North and Arctic region is vitally important to our security of the UK, as well as some of our closest allies in Scandinavia, the Baltic region and northern Europe.

HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen from HMS Lancaster on approach to the Arctic Circle (Picture: Crown Copyright).

"Deployments such as this, as well as our active engagement in the Northern Group and leadership of the Joint Expeditionary Force, demonstrate to our allies and adversaries alike that the UK will be forward-leaning in supporting the security and stability of the region."

Lancaster recently underwent a two-year refit, which left the warship ready for her first operational duties in nearly five years.

She was given new systems and sensors, including the Artisan 3D radar and the Sea Ceptor air defence system.

Commander William Blackett, Commanding Officer of HMS Lancaster, said: "For HMS Lancaster, this short operation was a great way to close out a challenging year of trials and training. 

"The Queen's Frigate and her fine company have come a long way since emerging from refit – we are back where we belong on the front line and ready for the next task."

Cover image: HMS Lancaster seen from HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen on approach to the Arctic Circle (Picture: Crown Copyright).