Published: November 12, 2019 | Updated: November 12, 2019

Company equips historic polar expedition on mission to gather global climate change data

Lighting provided by Poole company AGI will assist helicopters and aeroplanes to land and deliver supplies to the global crew of the research vessel Polarstern. Picture: Alfred-Wegener-Institute/Mario Hoppmann.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

The largest polar expedition in history which is gathering data on global climate change is using equipment from a Poole company.

Aeronautical & General Instruments Ltd (AGI) has supplied portable runway lighting.

It allows emergency supplies to be provided to the research vessel Polarstern while it drifts in ice for the next year.

The Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) project is the first expedition to drift through the Arctic all year round.

It has been designed by an international consortium of leading polar research institutions, led by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), with a total budget exceeding €140m.

The icebreaker Polarstern set sail from Tromso, Norway, in September.

Now, having reached its destination, the vessel is wedged into the Arctic ice where it will follow the natural drift to measure the features of the climate throughout the next year.

A flight campaign is planned for spring 2020, when a landing strip will be carved out of the sea ice.

Through its German representative, Wärtsilä JOVYATLAS EUROATLAS GmbH, AGI has provided its COREL LED omni-directional runway edge light and RTEL LED runway threshold end light.

The unique setup enables helicopters to land on deck with the added ability to easily move the lights onto the ice to make an emergency runway.

The lighting will assist helicopters and planes to land and deliver supplies to the global research crew when other vessels are no longer able to penetrate the ice.

The lights are fully portable, lightweight, battery powered with a long run time and are constructed to endure all weather environments.

David Hyde, AGI’s Managing Director

A comprehensive training programme was also delivered for the expedition participants at Wärtsilä’s premises in Bremen, in order to operate and maintain the lighting system during the 13 month expedition.

David Hyde, AGI’s Managing Director, said: “We are excited to support Polarstern on its year-long journey.

“With climate change being extremely topical, AGI is proud of its involvement in this historic event where our reliable, low cost lighting solutions help mission critical landings to take place with minimal effort.”

Patrick Appel, Sales Engineer, Wärtsilä JOVYATLAS EUROATLAS GmbH, said: “AWI has been internationally recognised for polar and marine research for decades.

“A connection with the Institute began many years ago when we supplied an AGI precision approach pathway indicator system to German Antarctic research station, Neumayer-Station III.

“This then led to the proposed airfield lighting configuration for the MOSAiC project and we are happy to have secured the order.”

Based in Willis Way, Poole, AGI supplies more than 50 countries worldwide, manufacturing a wide variety of defence products and naval equipment.

Founded in 1915, AGI is part of the AGI Holdings Group which includes Aish Technologies, Aircraft Appliances and Equipment and Hoffman Engineering.