HMS Protector is the Royal Navy’s ice patrol ship and is deployed on operations for 330 days per year, in support of the UK’s interests around the Antarctic region. Originally chartered by the MOD in 2011 to replace HMS Endurance, she was purchased outright for the Royal Navy in 2013.

The challenge

STS Defence was tasked with providing the platform with a full military HF/VHF/UHF ICS25 communications capability. The design solution had to be physically and seamlessly integrated into the platform as a fully operational system without any significant alterations to the vessel.

The solution

To deliver the capability without impacting on the ship’s internal space, STS Defence designed, manufactured and fitted-out a 40’ ISO container, which was installed in the lower cargo hold, with an associated antenna farm on the bridge roof.

The internal equipment was provided as Government Furnished Equipment (GFE), most of which was recovered from de-commissioned or inactive platforms. This equipment had to be retrieved intact, refurbished, re-built and made functional before being installed and set to work. After the individual systems and equipment had been re-furbished at STS Defence, commissioning engineers liaised directly with the numerous MoD IPTs and equipment OEMs to obtain the necessary information in order to create the required interface specifications and setting to work schedules prior to installation. In addition there was limited technical information available for the platform which highlighted many technical inconsistencies that had to be overcome.