Science Team Aims to Make Coast Guard Missions More Efficient

By Yolanda R. Arrington
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Researchers aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY are working on ways to make Coast Guard missions safer, more effective and more efficient. The Coast Guard’s missions range from busting drug runners on the open seas to inspecting vessels and clearing waterways to ensure safe passage for vessels.

Scot Tripp, chief scientist aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY. Defense TV photo

Scot Tripp, the chief scientist aboard the Healy told Defense TV about 40 people on the research and development science team are focusing on technology evaluations.

Researchers are looking at the technologies to prevent oil spills and remove oil should a leak occur.

Tripp explains that about seven or eight projects are happening on the Healy, including an unmanned, underwater submarine vehicle that will monitor whether oil heads leak over time. The team also is working to reverse sonar under ice to see if oil has gone below the ice’s surface. First responders have used the unmanned vessel to practice evacuations from the region as well. The science team’s work could one day open up the area off the coast of Alaska to cruise and cargo ship activity.

An unmanned vehicle is displayed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY. Defense TV photo

The Healy is the country’s newest and most technologically-advanced polar icebreaker designed to conduct a range of research activities. The vessel also boasts more than 4,200 square feet of scientific laboratory space and can accommodate up to 50 scientists.

The cutter can break 4.5 feet of ice continuously at 3 knots. It’s also designed to operate in temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The Healy can carry one and a half million gallons of fuel to refuel other vessels, if needed.

Tripp says the science team also is using additive manufacturing aboard the Healy. The team has designed and printed a number of devices, including camera mounts, boat steering mechanisms and circuit boards.

Stay tuned to Defense TV in the coming weeks as it takes you inside the Healy for an update on the cutter’s first science mission of 2017 in the Arctic.

RELATED LINKS: ICESCAPE: NASA and US Coast Guard Embark on Arctic Voyage
Arctic Voyage Completed: What’s Next for ICESCAPE Researchers?

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