In the News

In the News

Today, the RCN marked a most significant milestone in its shipbuilding programme with the delivery of the first new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) built by Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax.  

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf, the first of a class of six, is named in honour of Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a Canadian wartime naval hero. Subsequent ships in the class will be named to honour other prominent Canadian naval heroes who served their country with the highest distinction. This is the first time in its 104-year history that the RCN is naming a class of ships after a prominent Canadian naval figure.

HMCS Harry DeWof is the first ship completed under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, and equips the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) with a modern and effective ship to support expanded surveillance and defence activities across Canada’s three coasts.

Specifically designed to patrol Canada’s offshore waters and northernmost regions, this new class of ship will be at the core of an enhanced Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Arctic presence, effectively complementing the capabilities of our other current and future warships through critical reconnaissance and surveillance activities. Considered "highly versatile", this platform will be able to support a wide variety of domestic and international missions.

In addition to operating in up to 120 cm of first-year sea ice, the AOPS will be able to accommodate a Cyclone helicopter as well as small vehicles, deployable boats, and cargo containers. This will enable the RCN to have unescorted access to areas of the Arctic that were previously inaccessible.

The modern accommodations and facilities of the new AOPS will  significantly improve the comfort and quality of life for its crew, underscoring the CAF’s commitment to improved inclusivity and well-being for personnel.

Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, praised the “hard work of the staff at Irving" and heralded this milestone as "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. 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 delivery of this ship marks an exciting new chapter in Canada’s long road back to resurrecting its shipbuilding expertise. This project will eventually see six new AOPS built in Canada, creating hundreds of sustainable new jobs for the area. The next three ships on the docket are already in various stages of construction, and work on the fifth and sixth ships is expected to commence in 2021 and 2022, respectively. 

In addition to the six new ice-capable ships for the RCN, the AOPS project will also provide two variants for the Canadian Coast Guard. Construction of the seventh and eighth ships is expected to begin in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Job creation is a critical bonus for any government, and the National Shipbuilding Strategy is doing just that on both the East and West coasts.“Since the start of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Canadian marine sector has continued to grow into a strong and innovative industry, creating good jobs in every region,” confirmed the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Now, with the delivery of the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, the Royal Canadian Navy will see the benefit of this work. It is a powerful tribute to the Canadian builders and suppliers of these ships and to the highly skilled workers across this country that make up this important industry.” 

The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy applies to this contract, ensuring that Irving Shipbuilding Inc. invests an amount equal to the value of the contract in the Canadian economy.

Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, referenced how the National Shipbuilding Strategy continues to "create jobs and fosters prosperity in communities across Canada." For now, Harry DeWolf will remain docked at Jetty NJ at the CFB Halifax Dockyard while the RCN conducts its post-acceptance trials and training, and then final preparations, outfitting and provisioning while crewed by sailors before proceeding, in the Fall, to operations near Newfoundland and Labrador – for the first time under RCN command. Once this post-acceptance work is complete, the ship will undergo a formal commissioning ceremony in summer 2021 to mark that it has officially entered into active naval service, and this will be followed by an Arctic deployment. 

Following delivery to the Government of Canada, the ship will  – in order to begin progressing navy-conducted tests and trials in a variety of environments in coming months as the ship’s capability is operationalized HMCS Harry DeWolf will be commissioned in mid-2020.

“Our future fleet is beginning to be delivered, said the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice-Admiral Art McDonald. “These ships will be at the core of an enhanced Canadian Arctic presence, effectively complementing the capabilities of our other current and future warships through critical reconnaissance and surveillance operations. The Harry DeWolf-class will also be capable of a myriad of different mission sets including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, tasks for which it is particularly well suited. Bravo Zulu and thank you to all of those across the Government-Industry shipbuilding team - especially Irving Shipbuilding Inc, the builder - whose collaboration has made Canada stronger today and welcome aboard to the ship’s company.”  

Work is ongoing to complete the Nanisivik Naval Facility, which will support operations of the new AOPS and other government maritime vessels. This new facility is expected to be completed in 2022.

About Harry deWolf
A native of Bedford, Nova Scotia, Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf (RCN) 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.” The announcement of the ship/class-name was made at HMCS Haida, which now serves as a museum ship on the Hamilton waterfront.