Arctic: Navy

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 9th July 2019.

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Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps her Department is taking to increase UK maritime capabilities in the Arctic and the High North.

Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The Royal Navy has the capability to project force using a variety of assets in the High North and Arctic, dependent on the location, season and threat, including amphibious assets focused around 3 Commando Brigade and Commando Helicopter Force who have well-established expertise in cold weather warfare. It has one purpose-built Ice Patrol Ship (HMS Protector) and the UK will maintain an ability to operate under the Arctic ice. Given the changing nature of the Arctic, and in support of the UK Government Arctic Policy Framework, we are seeking to develop sustainable, modernised and proportionate Defence capability for the region, including investment in appropriate Defence research and commercial technology. All Royal Air Force operational aircraft are capable of performing in cold weather with appropriate preparation and maintenance. The Royal Air Force's fleet of nine P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft, as well as F35 Lightning II operating from HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will further contribute to the UK's capabilities in the region. In the longer-term, the Ministry of Defence will explore opportunities offered by space and autonomous systems to meet future Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance requirements.

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