Vehicles in Antarctica
The BAS Vehicles Section is part of Technology and Engineering and is headed by Steve White who is assisted by Ben Norrish. Together they manage all aspects of BAS vehicles in Antarctica. During the winter operating season they are often away south at either Rothera or Halley. There they will manage contract staff working as Mobile Plant Technicians and Mobile Plant Operators.
There are various off-the-shelf and specialized vehicles at Rothera and Halley Antarctic stations. At Halley the vehicles are all tracked giving all year round access around the Brunt ice shelf, whilst at Rothera there is a mix of wheeled and tracked vehicles to deal with the ever changing summer conditions as the snow recedes leaving bare rock around the base location. All the heavy plant vehicles are powered by diesel engines which require special pre-heating before they are started in low temperatures, and they also use alternative fuels such as JET A1 aviation fuel to stop the waxing of regular diesel fuels. The smaller snow-mobiles are powered by 280, 503 and 550cc twin-cylinder Rotax two-stroke petrol engines. All the vehicles are fitted with fully automatic or semi-automatic transmissions to ensure they are simple to operate and be less prone to damage.