Arctic and offshore patrol ships

Project summary

Canada’s defence policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) – committed to the acquisition of six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS). Designated the Harry DeWolf-class in honour of Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a Canadian wartime naval hero, the vessels will be delivered through the AOPS project, which is part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships be able to perform a wide variety of tasks, such as:

  • Provide increased presence and conduct surveillance operations throughout Canada’s waters, including in the Arctic;
  • Support Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) sovereignty operations;
  • Participate in a wide variety of international operations, such as anti-smuggling, anti-piracy or international security and stability;
  • Contribute to humanitarian assistance, emergency response and disaster relief domestically or internationally;
  • Conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) and facilitate communications among other ships;
  • Support CAF core missions including capacity building in support of other nations; and
  • Support other government departments in their ability to enforce their respective mandates.

The Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships will operate in the Arctic between July and October, providing a greater, and longer, CAF presence in the north. They will be capable of operating in first-year ice of 120-centimetre thickness. This will allow the Royal Canadian Navy to have unescorted access to areas of the Arctic that were previously inaccessible.

The Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships will have the ability to sustain operations for up to four months. The Nanisivik Naval Facility and our future support ships will further extend the RCN operations by refueling and replenishing the ships.

The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship project will also acquire integrated logistics support products, jetty infrastructures in Halifax and Esquimalt, and a berthing and fueling facility in Nanisivik, Nunavut. Additionally, two of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships will be delivered to the Canadian Coast Guard.

The first new AOPS, HMCS Harry DeWolf was delivered to the RCN in July 2020. Three ships are currently in various stages of production, with the second ship delivered to the RCN in July 2020.

Project phases

Currently in Phase 4: Implementation

1. Identification

1. Identification

  • Completed through the National Shipbuilding Strategy
2. Options analysis

2. Options analysis

  • Completed through the National Shipbuilding Strategy
3. Definition

3. Definition

  • Project approval: December 13, 2012
  • Contract award: March 7, 2013
4. Implementation

4. Implementation

  • Project approval: December 11, 2014
  • Contract award: December 23, 2014
  • Cut steel for ship 1 : September 1, 2015
  • Cut steel for ship 2: August 25, 2016
  • Cut steel for ship 3: December 19, 2017
  • Revised project approval for 6 ships: November 2, 2018
  • Revised contract award for 6 ships: December 21, 2018
  • Cut steel for ship 4: May 3, 2019
  • Ship 1 delivery: July 31, 2020
  • Initial operational capability: 2021
  • Cut steel for ship 5: May 19, 2021
  • Ship 2 delivery: July 15, 2021
  • Cut steel for ship 6: 2022
  • Ship 3 delivery: 2022
  • Ship 4 delivery: 2023
  • Ship 5 delivery: 2024
  • Ship 6 delivery: 2025
  • Full operational capability: 2025
  • Ship 7 delivery: 2026
  • Ship 8 delivery: 2027
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • 2026

*Key milestones and timelines are reflective of the current schedule, but are tentative and subject to change as timelines are reviewed.

Learn more about the Defence procurement process.

Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

May 2021
Sea trials for the second ship, the future HMCS Margaret Brooke, were completed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Construction of the fifth ship, the future HMCS Frédérick Rolette, began.

April 2021
HMCS Harry DeWolf completed its third post-delivery work period in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Following completion of this work period, the ship conducted warm weather trials by the Caribbean Islands.

February 2021
HMCS Harry DeWolf completed its second post-delivery work period in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Following the completion of this work period, the ship successfully conducted cold weather and ice trials on the South-East coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut.

January 2021
The first mega-block of the future HMCS Max Bernays (ship 3) was moved from inside the Halifax Shipyard’s Assembly and Ultra Hall facility to the exterior land-level construction point.

October 2020
The crew of HMCS Harry DeWolf began their operational and readiness activities, and the ship sailed at sea for the first time under RCN command.

August 2020
The name of the sixth AOPS, the future HMCS Robert Hampton Gray, was announced.

July 2020
Following the completion of final sea trials in mid-July, the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, HMCS Harry DeWolf, was delivered to the Government of Canada on July 31, 2020. The ship remained at the CFB Halifax Dockyard for several weeks while it completed its first post-delivery work period, which included final preparations and outfitting. During this time, the crew also began their operational readiness activities and training before the ship officially enters into RCN service in summer 2021.

February 2020
The first round of builder sea trials for HMCS Harry DeWolf were successfully completed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

November 2019
The second Arctic and Offshore Patrol ship, the future HMCS Margaret Brooke, was successfully launched in Halifax. Builder trials for the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf were held in late-November.

July 2019
Construction of the new NJ Jetty at the CFB Halifax Dockyard was completed.

May 2019
Construction of the fourth ship, the future HMCS William Hall, began.

The construction of a seventh and eighth ship for the Canadian Coast Guard was announced which will further mitigate the remaining production gap.

December 2018
A contract amendment was signed for the acquisition of a sixth ship and extension of the schedule.

November 2018
The Government of Canada confirmed that the RCN will receive a sixth AOPS and announced that the production schedule will be extended by 18 months, thereby mitigating the production gap between the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship and Canadian Surface Combatant construction.

October 2018
The first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship was officially named Harry DeWolf during the traditional naming ceremony.

September 2018
The future HMCS Harry DeWolf (ship 1) was launched to water in September 2018.

The first two of three mega-blocks of the future HMCS Margaret Brooke (ship 2) were moved from inside the Halifax Shipyard’s Assembly and Ultra Hall facility to the exterior land-level construction point.

December 2017
Construction of the third ship, the future HMCS Max Bernays (ship 3), began.

The future HMCS Harry DeWolf’s third and final mega-block moved from inside the Halifax Shipyard’s Assembly and Ultra Hall facility to the exterior land level construction point, where it was joined to the first two mega-blocks to form the complete ship.

July 2017
The first two of three mega-blocks of the future HMCS Harry DeWolf were moved from inside the Halifax Shipyard’s Assembly and Ultra Hall facility to the exterior land-level construction point.

August 2016
Construction of the second vessel, the future HMCS Margaret Brooke, began.

September 2015
Construction of the first vessel, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf, began. The future fleet has been designated the Harry DeWolf-class. The other vessels in the class have also been named:

  • HMCS Margaret Brooke
  • HMCS Max Bernays
  • HMCS William Hall
  • HMCS Frédérick Rolette

The AOPS project also includes jetty infrastructure in Esquimalt, B.C., and Halifax, N.S., and a berthing and fueling facility in Nanisivik, Nunavut.

January 2015
The Government of Canada announced a $2.6 billion contract (taxes included) to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. to build the Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships, marking the start of the construction phase under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Industry

Commitment to Canadian Industry

The National Shipbuilding Strategy’s selection of the two shipyards to rebuild the fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard were applied in a comprehensive and innovative way by following principles of extensive industry consultations, along with the establishment of a strong governance structure and the involvement of independent third parties.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc., as the selected shipyard for the combat package of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, is responsible for engagements with industry. Through these engagements, the shipyard has established contracts for the sourcing of services, materials, equipment’s and systems for use in the design and construction of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships.

The Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) policy is being applied to the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship Definition and Implementation contracts. As of August 2020, the total IRB obligation is $3.1 billion, $1.9 billion has been completed and $396 million is in progress.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. has $14.1 million in National Shipbuilding Strategy Value Proposition obligations, in the areas of human resources, technology and industrial development, 100% of which have been identified to date.

Contractors

Some of the links below lead to websites that are not part of the Government of Canada and may be available in English only.

The amended build contract with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. will deliver six ships. The contract will be further amended for the procurement of two ships for the Canadian Coast Guard.

Technical Information

Harry DeWolf-class patrol ship specifications

  • Length: 103 metres
  • Beam: 19 metres
  • Crew: up to 65
  • Estimated life expectancy: 25 years of service per vessel
Project costs

Project costs

  • The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship project acquisition budget is $4.3 billion (excluding taxes). This includes ship design, project management, materials and labour needed to build all the ships, jetty and fueling infrastructure, initial spare parts, technical data, training of crew, contingency, amongst other items.
  • Final figures do not include Canadian Coast Guard ships.
  • In 2017, one in-service support contract for 35 years was awarded to Thales for both the Joint Support Ships and Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships and is valued at $5.2 billion.
Issues/Risks

Issues/Risks

  • The world-wide COVID-19 crisis has impacted the project’s schedule and budget, primarily due to effects on production efficiency. While construction at the Halifax Shipyard is continuing, health and safety protocols have been implemented in accordance with public health measures. The impacts related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are being assessed, and mitigation strategies are being developed in areas such as the global supply chain and production. On site reviews and inspections are also continuing thanks to local staff and virtual tools. An evaluation of project timelines is ongoing, and will continue as the situation progresses and the full extent of COVID-related impacts are better understood.
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