The £200m investment in an icebreaker was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in a speech in Cambridge.
The ship is likely to be 130m long and sport a helipad, cranes, onboard labs, and have the ability to deploy subs and other ocean survey and sampling gear.
It should be ready to enter service in 2019, and will support scientists in both the Antarctic and the Arctic.
The strength of its hull will allow it to push deeper into pack ice than any previous British research vessel.
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