RV Lance is a research and expedition vessel, used by the Norwegian Polar Institute and cooperating institutions. She operates primarily in the Arctic, but has also been used for Antarctic expeditions.
The home base is Tromsø, Norway. During the summer season she normally operates out of Longyearbyen, Svalbard.
RV Lance has onboard labs and other facilities to accommodate various research field needs, in particular marine biology and oceanography.
Lance is equipped with a helicopter platform suitable for small and medium-sized helicopters. For normal operations the take off-weight is limited to 5 tons (Bell 212 or equivalent), but the helideck is approved for helicopters up to 8 tons (Super Puma or equivalent) subject to aircraft operators approval.
The helicopter platform measures 13,5m x 11,5m and there is parking space for a spare helicopter on top of the wheelhouse. Lance’s helifuel tank holds enough fuel for 130 hours of flying with the AS 350. Normally the Norwegian Polar Institute uses Aerospatiale AS 350 Equreuil helicopters. The AS 350 is among the most widely used light utility helicopters in the world today, providing a good payload at a reasonable cost
RV Lance was launched in 1978 as a combined fishing and sealing vessel for arctic waters. At the time she proved too large and expensive to run, and her career as a fishing vessel was brief. Seeing the potential for other tasks, the Norwegian Hydrographic Service acquired her in 1981. She was rebuilt to meet requirements as a hydrographic survey vessel also suitable for research, expeditions and oil recovery purposes. She was rebuilt again in 1992 to meet requirements for research expeditions in the Antarctic and the Arctic.
The Norwegian Hydrographic Service operated Lance until 1994, using her both as a survey vessel and as a research vessel for the Norwegian Polar Institute and other institutions. In 1994 she was handed over to the Norwegian Polar Institute. In the period 1995 – 2000 Lance also served as a coastguard vessel in the Barents Sea for parts of the year.