Kongsberg Equipment Package for New British Polar Research Vessel

Kongsberg Maritime has been awarded a contract by Cammell Laird as the primary supplier of the acoustic scientific research and mapping equipment for the British Antarctic Survey’s new polar research vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

The new polar research ship, owned by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is currently under construction at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, UK in a build project worth £140 million. The ship is due to enter operation in 2019.

Operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the RRS Sir David Attenborough will be available to the whole UK research base including postgraduate training.

“The RRS Sir David Attenborough will be a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary science platform and the UK’s largest and most advanced research vessel. It will enable cutting-edge science across a broad range of disciplines (physical, biological and chemical oceanography, marine geology and geophysics, and atmospheric science) required to understand the impact of a changing polar environment on our planet. In so doing it will help maintain the UK at the forefront of polar research,” said professor David Vaughan, director of science at British Antarctic Survey.

The Kongsberg scientific research and mapping equipment package will include: EM 122 deepwater multibeam system; EM 712 medium depth multibeam system; TOPAS PS 18 sub bottom profiler; EA 640 scientific echo sounder; EK 80 biological multi-frequency echo sounder; ME 70 biological multibeam echo sounder; MS 70 biological multibeam echo sounder; SH 94 omni direction sonar; SX 94 forward looking sonar (omni directional) and K-Sync synchronisation unit.

The multibeam mapping systems will be ice protected for high reliability and accuracy in polar regions, the company said.

To remind, NERC launched an online poll to name the new research vessel in March 2016, and the name that attracted the most attention was “RRS Boaty McBoatface”, submitted by  James Hand.

Since NERC was looking to name the vessel after a “local historical figure, movement, or landmark – or a famous polar explorer or scientist”, the organization choose to name the vessel “RRS Sir David Attenborough”, after the renowned naturalist and broadcaster.

However NERC kept the Boaty McBoatface name, not for the vessel but for the remotely operated subsea vehicle that will be used by the scientists on-board.

With a length of 125 meters, a breadth of 24 meters and draft of approximately 7 meters the vessel features scientific cargo volume of approximately 900 cu meters and an endurance of up to 60 days in polar regions.

“We are proud to have been selected to provide such specialist equipment to the British Antarctic Survey’s latest vessel, the RRS Sir David Attenborough,” said Peter Bennett, business manager subsea (UK & Ireland), Kongsberg Maritime. “Our systems will support the important scientific missions carried out by the UK in polar regions, helping to further understand the effects of climate change and how the global community can address them.”

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