The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) marked the most significant milestone in its shipbuilding program with the delivery of the first new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) to Halifax, N.S., Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf.
Delivered on July 31, 2020, HMCS Harry DeWolf is the first of a class of six named ships in honour of Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a Canadian wartime naval hero.
National Shipbuilding Strategy
It is the first ship built for the RCN under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
“The delivery of HMCS Harry DeWolf, first of a class of six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS), marks the beginning of an exciting time for the RCN – our future fleet is beginning to be delivered. 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,” stated Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.
Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of national defence, stated this milestone is important for our homegrown defence industry, for the Royal Canadian Navy, and the protection of Canada.
“Every single worker at Irving has done incredible work to deliver these impressive ships to the Royal Canadian Navy,” he added.
This new class of ship is specifically designed to patrol Canada’s offshore waters and northernmost regions. The vessel 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.
The AOPS will be able to accommodate a Cyclone helicopter, as well as small vehicles, deployable boats, and cargo containers.
This capability enables the RCN to have unescorted access to areas of the Arctic that were previously inaccessible.
HMCS Harry DeWolf will remain docked at Jetty NJ at the CFB Halifax Dockyard while the RCN conducts its post-acceptance trials and training, including operations near Newfoundland and Labrador.
Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf
A native of Bedford, Nova Scotia, Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf was decorated for outstanding service throughout his naval career.
His career 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 regarding the ship/class-name was made at HMCS Haida, which now serves as a museum ship on the Hamilton waterfront.
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.
Construction for the following three ships is ongoing, with the construction of the fifth and sixth ships expected to begin in 2021 and 2022, respectively.