HMS Protector is all set for her maiden deployment in November after months of work to convert her from a commercial support vessel into a military ice patrol ship. Since May the leased Norwegian icebreaker has been overhauled and re-equipped to prepare for demanding hydrographic, supply and security roles in the hostile conditions of Antarctica and the UK’s South Atlantic territories.
In addition to the previously reported changes, the Portsmouth-based ship now carries a new survey motor launch called James Caird IV and a 22m Pacific RIB. To bring her in line with other RN vessels, the ship has also been fitted out with a WECDIS digital navigation system and a military specification communications suite, along with 7.62mm Miniguns and GPMGs for self-defence. However, one key omission in capability that remains is the lack of a helicopter.