Video: USS Hartford (SSN 768) surfaces at the Arctic circle for ICEX 2016

New video of submarine surfacing through ice.

By Mike Goad


ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 10, 2016) USS Hartford (SSN 768) surfaces in the Arctic Circle near Ice Camp Sargo during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. Servicemembers and civilians assigned to Arctic Submarine Lab clear ice from the hatches to allow for surface access.

ICEX is a five-week exercise designed to research, test, and evaluate operational capabilities in the region. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson and Staff Sgt. Edward Eagerton/Released


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I had the opportunity to do that in 1994 aboard the USS Whale (SSN638). It was an interesting experience. The ice looks much thinner than the stuff we punched through.
[The Whale was at the north pole in 1969, this punch through was at the Arctic circle, at the thinner icepack but, looking at pix added below, thickness doesn’t look that much different -mod]
USS Whale surfaces at North Pole 1969:comment image


We (the Whale) were also at the pole in 1994, or close enough to it (the pole that is).
[this looks to be that photo of the 1994 event -mod]comment image


From Wikipedia: “Following the final Change of Command in Jan 1994 Whale conducted a scientific exercise under the ice cap at the North Pole and in the North Atlantic.”
We played football on the ice. It was a balmy -10F. The football was hard as a rock.


No. The hull number was not on the sail at that time.

Here is a link to some pictures of the Whale at the pole in 1994. No, that is not me in the pics.

This event was at Camp Spargo in the Beaufort Sea north of Prudhoe Bay.


My God, you were breathing such high CO2 concentrations! How did you ever survive?


Actually, at one point during the deployment (before we went under the ice) our oxygen generator went down. We were burning candles (perchlorate) for O2. The candles couldn’t keep up and O2 concentrations got down to around 15% or so. We would have to come to the surface to ventilate every few hours to bring up the O2. It was a pretty awful experience.

Sweet Old Bob

SMC … 6L16 ?


Based on pics, looks similar to what I remember. It was in AMR1. I spent most of my time aft of frame 57.

I love the smell of diesel smoke in the Arctic, it smells like Victory at Sea! BZ


The Harford is a nuke boat. They would not shut down the reactor to run the diesel. The diesel isn’t running in the video.

I clearly saw smoke in the video at about 2:55. Diesel operation is quite independent of the reactor plant. The diesel ventilates the boat as nicely as does the LP blower. Your suggestion of the necessity of shutting down the plant in order to run the diesel is suggestive.


The diesel was not operating in the video. The snorkel mast was not raised. There is no exhaust coming from the vents, which are clearly visible at the aft end of the sail. The reactor does not need to be shut down to run the diesel but, if there reactor is operating, there is no reason to run the diesel. The ‘smoke’ you saw at about 2:50 is likely from somebody opening the lower hatch to the sail and venting some of the boats atmosphere.

Here is a video that shows the diesel on SSN686 (a 637 class boat) operating. Notice the exhaust coming from the sail. 688I boats look very similar when the diesel is in operation.

Patrick MJD

That’s rotten ice. It’s obvious!

Patrick MJD

I have pictures from a Royal Naval ship in Antarctica in the 80’s. How can I post these images? I have permission from the owner.


One way is to post them at Tiny Pic, which will give you a URL to post. If that is put on a line all by itself with no tags, it will post as the picture.


One solution is to use TinyPic
Upload the photo there, and post the link here. When your comment is displayed, your picture is automagically fetched and displayed here.
NOTE: TinyPic grabs full unlimited use of your pictures. A lot of people will not use the service because of this.
From their terms of use:

6.1 TinyPic does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the TinyPic Services. By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the TinyPic Services, you hereby grant to TinyPic and other users a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels. Content will be publicly available, and TinyPic and other Users may copy or display Content outside of the TinyPic Services through the quick link feature or through any other display mechanisms.

Your call.


Another service is Easy to use.
The issue with all these services is how long the image is retained in their databases; some delete after 30 days of non-use.

Patrick MJD

South Georgia Antarctica.


Here’s one from 1987:
Note how little ice is there?

Paul Coppin

Faked. Filmed at a community pool just down the street from the studio the moon landing was filmed in. The white stuff is styrofoam. The “subs” are plastic models. EVERYBODY knows the Arctic ice is long gone. and snow is but a memory.
Do I need a /s? 🙂


I think the submariner at time 1:50 is using the same ice scraper I use to clear snow and ice off of my car in the wintertime. 🙂

but you have to remember that his scrapper cost about $1500.00




We must also not forget another milestone. In 2007 two BBC presenters named Jeremy Clarkson and James May drove pick-up trucks to the North Pole. First time that has ever been done.


Wrong, they went to the 1996 position of the magnetic pole, and was probably south of 80°N latitude.

Oh, I think it was the first time people drove pickup trucks to the North Magnetic Pole. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was the first time someone tried to pass off the North Magnetic Pole as the North Pole. And to think I thought we had cleaned up that misinformation/overhyped trip.
There will certainly be more overhyped trips in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

Jeff Alberts

Most of the stuff on Top Gear is overhyped; fun, but overhyped, and often staged.


no wonder there’s no ice left in the north pole…
they keep punching holes in it
if they want to save the ice, they need to quit driving around up there
seriously folks, get with it!


Oh bull. 😛 We were doing our part to cool the earth. More open water means more energy lost to space. :))

I was north of the arctic circle twice, but we never went under the ice, that I know of. Casimir Pulaski (SSBN 633) was a missile boat. We just went to see and hid for a couple months or so.

Given the suggested weather cycle, possibly bringing 30 or so years of cooler temperatures(Northern hemisphere) and the massive gullibility present in todays electorate, I feel it is time to station a massive geosynchronous mirror focused on Hudson Bay Canada.
We need a better skylab and Canada needs better weather.
Need an ice free arctic?
Canada is here to help.


Feel free to immigrate to the US. Come enjoy our much warmer weather and our soon to be President Trump.

Couldn’t help but notice the one armed guy…is he there for the polar bears or the ruskies?

Sweet Old Bob

You haven’t heard Blind Mans Bluff ? (8<)) ?
(Tommy Cox )

Looks like the butt for the AR15 issue, .223 (5.56mm) caliber seaman rifle.
Must be to piss off the bears or gather some seals for the mess.


Piss off the bears is about all a 5.56 would do. It’d be more effective as a club.


From about 20 seconds into the video you can see the ice moving on the wave propagated by the surfacing of the sub.


Okay – inside the Arctic circle is Canadian territory – that tin can gotta go. Justin Trudeau were are you sonny – oh heck, forget it, we surrender.




One can only imagine what flotilla of Canadian ships would be sent out and street protests staged if Trump were commander in chief when a sub went to the same spot.

4 eyes

My first book on boats in about 1960 showed a picture of a US sub in the ice pack near the North Pole, I think


The USS Skate?

4 Eyes

It was the Skate. It surfaced at the north pole in 1958. See

Tom in Florida

SMC, thanks for posting so quickly. That probably shut down half a dozen “first time this has happened” comments from those who believe history started only 20 years ago.

John gorter

I thought it was the opening scene of 2001! the black box, then seeing the marked out cross on the ice, then the emergence, close but not quiet, my next thought was ‘missed it by that much!’
Fantastic stuff!