Canadian Navy takes delivery of 1st Arctic and offshore patrol ship

Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship Harry DeWolf. Photo Credit: Mona Ghiz, MARLANT Public Affairs 202007XXHSX0311D040 © 2020 DND-MDN Canada

The first of six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS), Harry DeWolf, was delivered to the Government of Canada, in Halifax.

Harry DeWolf; Photo by Royal Canadian Navy

The vessel was built by Canadian shipbuilders and was delivered by CFB Halifax Dockyard, Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

The vessel was moved on July 31st from Halifax Shipyard to the CFB Halifax Dockyard, where it will be based. An official acceptance ceremony was held on the Dockyard NJ Jetty, where ownership of the vessel was signed over to Canada and the Royal Canadian Navy. 

“Today’s delivery of the first AOPS is very exciting not only for currently serving members of the Royal Canadian Navy, but moreover, it is also inspiring for our aspiring shipmates, seeking state-of-the-art technology to form new experiences in and expand their professional horizons,” said Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of the RCN.

“What this new fleet brings to the table is impressive. It is designed with a thick and robust hull that will allow it to operate in up to 120 cm of first-year sea ice. With its considerable space to efficiently transport cargo, it can accommodate a Cyclone helicopter as well as small vehicles, deployable boats, and cargo containers.”

The 6,615 tonne HMCS Harry DeWolf is comprised of 440,000 parts and is the largest vessel ever built in Canada in a combat package. It is also the largest Navy vessel built in Canada in more than 50 years. Other characteristics include:

  • Length: 103.6 metres
  • Beam: 19.0 metres
  • Speed (open water): 17 knots
  • Complement: 65 crew + 20 embarked forces
  • Endurance: 120 days
  • Range: 6,800 nautical miles at 14 knots
  • Integrated diesel-electric power and propulsion
  • Bow thruster for manoeuvering and berthing without tug assistance
  • Enclosed Fo’c’sle/Cable deck to protect foredeck machinery and personnel from harsh Artic environment
  • Retractable active fin stabilizers for roll reduction
  • Ability to operate and hangar a CH-148 Cyclone or small utility helicopter

HMCS Harry DeWolf was launched on September 8, 2018, completed successful Builder’s Trials at sea in November 2019, then completed a series of Sea Trials (also known as ‘Acceptance Trials’) earlier this month, followed by crew training for the members of the Royal Canadian Navy who will comprise the ship’s company.

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AOPS are designed to offers facilities that will create a better quality of life for its shipmates. Its facilities include gender-inclusive washrooms, individual crew accommodations, and the flexible use of common spaces, such as the briefing room, wardroom, and boarding party room, to serve as a silent space for prayer or meditation required for various religious practices.

Designated the Harry DeWolf-class in honour of Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a Canadian naval hero, the delivery of this new class of ship represents an historic milestone for the RCN, being part of the largest fleet recapitalization in Canada’s peacetime history.

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf will require significant work and additional tests and trials to complete construction and operationalize the ship. Once complete, the ship will undergo a formal commissioning ceremony in summer 2021, which will mark its entry into active naval service.

Three additional ships are currently in production, with delivery of the second ship expected in 2021, and construction of the fifth ship expected to begin in 2021.

The future HMCS Margaret Brooke was launched in November 2019 and continues construction in the water at Halifax Shipyard, the future HMCS Max Bernays is in the assembly hall at Halifax Shipyard preparing for a move to land later this year, while the future HMCS William Hall entered the assembly hall last November and will soon have the keel laying. First steel on the fifth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel will be cut in the coming months, the shipbuilder said.

Future crew members of HMCS Harry DeWolf are in the process of conducting operational readiness and training activities to familiarize themselves with the ship and how it functions. As part of this training, the RCN is planning a deployment near Newfoundland and Labrador this fall that will prepare the crew for a deployment to the Arctic next year.

The AOPS will primarily conduct presence and surveillance missions along Canada’s maritime approaches. They will also support other government departments and agencies, such as the Canadian Coast Guard, that are focused on ensuring safe navigation of shipping in the Arctic waters.

They will also be capable of participating in a wide variety of international operations such as anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, and international security and stability. These ships will be able to contribute to humanitarian assistance, emergency response and disaster relief domestically and internationally, the navy said.