Canada receives first new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship – HMCS Harry DeWolf

The HMCS Harry DeWolf being moved from Halifax Shipyard to the NJ Jetty at CFB Halifax Dockyard. Image: Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

A significant milestone was reached on July 31, 2020, for Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. The Royal Canadian Navy received its first new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) – Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf. This is the first of a class of six AOPS that is named in honour of VAdm Harry DeWolf, a Canadian wartime naval hero. 

As a native of Bedford, Nova Scotia, VAdm DeWolf was decorated for outstanding service throughout his naval career, which included wartime command of HMCS St. Laurent from 1939-40, and later, his 1943-44 command of HMCS Haida, known as the “Fightingest Ship in the RCN.” 

VAdm Art McDonald and Kevin McCoy signing during the official Acceptance event held on July 31 at CFB Halifax Dockyard. Image: Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

On Friday, at the CFB Halifax Dockyard, Irving Shipbuilding Inc., the shipbuilder, officially delivered HCMS Harry DeWolf to Canada and the RCN. During the ceremony, VAdm Art MacDonald, Commander of the RCN, signed to officially receive the ship from Irving Shipbuilding.  

“This is a historic day for our 2,000 shipbuilders and Halifax Shipyard, as we successfully delivered the first-in-class HMCS Harry DeWolf, the lead vessel in Canada’s next-generation fleet,” said Kevin McCoy, President, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. “This brand-new class of Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels is the most modern in Canadian history and will provide decades of outstanding service for the men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy. We are immensely proud to be building these ships in Canada and with Canada’s best shipbuilders right here in Nova Scotia.”

AOPS is designed specifically to patrol Canada’s offshore waters and northernmost regions and will form the core of an enhanced Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Arctic presence. These vessels will add to the capabilities of current and future warships through critical reconnaissance and surveillance activities. These ships are outfitted with modern accommodations and facilities that will significantly improve the comfort and quality of life for its crew. 

Check out the interview with Cdr Corey Gleason, Commanding Officer of HMCS Harry DeWolf.

The 6,615-tonne vessel is comprised of 440,000 parts (the engine is one part only) and is the most modern and the largest vessel ever built in Canada in a combat package. It is also the largest naval ship to be built in Canada in more than five decades.

Details and features of AOPS 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 Arctic environment

• Retractable active fin stabilizers for roll reduction

• Ability to operate and hangar a CH-148 Cyclone or small utility helicopter

According to a news release, this delivery marks an exciting new chapter in Canada’s long and proud naval history and has resulted in creating hundreds of new jobs for Canadians. 

“This milestone is important for our homegrown defence industry, for the Royal Canadian Navy, and for the protection of Canada. Every single worker at Irving has done incredible work to deliver these impressive ships to the Royal Canadian Navy,” said Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence. “Thank you for everything you do to empower our people in uniform with the equipment and support they need to protect Canada, at home and abroad.”

The HMCS Harry DeWolf will remain docked at the CFB Halifax Dockyard while the RCN conducts its post-acceptance trials and training, including operations near Newfoundland and Labrador. Once this post-acceptance work is complete, the ship will undergo a formal commissioning ceremony in summer 2021, which will mark that it has officially entered into active naval service, followed by an Arctic deployment. 

Three other AOPS are under construction: the future HMCS Margaret Brooke, the future HMCS Max Bernays, and the future HMCS William Hall. Construction of the fifth and sixth ships is expected to begin in 2021 and 2022, respectively. 

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