WATCH: Navy Submarine Proves The Perfect 'Ice-Breaker' In Arctic

Royal Navy Submarine HMS Trenchant breaks through metre thick ice in the Arctic Ocean.

Pictures: Royal Navy.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Trenchant has broken through metre-thick ice in the Arctic Ocean, while on exercise with two US boats.

'Ice Exercise 18' (ICEX) is a series of trials in the Arctic Circle designed to test the submariners' skills in operating under the Arctic ice cap.

HMS Trenchant has joined US submarines USS Connecticut and USS Hartford for the drills, coordinated by the US Navy's Arctic Submarine Laboratory. 

This combined team of military staff and scientists run the testing schedule from an ice camp established on an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean, north of Alaska.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

"The Arctic Ocean is one of the most unique and harshest environments on earth."

"The ability of our submarines to operate with our US allies here demonstrates how the Royal Navy is always on hand and ready to defend our nation anywhere in the world."

The Ice Camp consists of a series of temporary shelters and houses up to 50 people from Britain, Canada and the US.

Temperatures at the camp often drop to -40F.

Commander David Burrell, the Commanding Officer of HMS Trenchant, said:

"This is a tremendous opportunity to really test our skills.

"Working alongside the US submarines is great for us.

"It is like dogfighting in an ice jungle."

Rear Admiral James Pitts, US Navy, said: "With every ICEX we are able to build upon our experience and continue to learn the best way to operate in this unique and harsh environment."

"We are constantly testing new tactics under the ice and this exercise allows us to do this on a larger scale and alongside our UK, joint and academic partners."

It allows the Royal Navy to test a series of equipment, notably sonar, against live 'targets' and to practice tracking as well as simulating against other submarines. 

These exercises help maintain the readiness of the Royal Navy's submarine fleet and in maintaining the security of the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.