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 June 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.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. launched the first ship to water in September 2018. The future HMCS Harry DeWolf is expected to be delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy in winter 2020.

Phases of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship project

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
  • Cut steel for ship 5: spring 2020
  • Ship 1 delivery: winter 2020
  • Ship 2 delivery: late 2020
  • Cut steel for ship 6: 2020
  • Initial operational capability: 2020
  • Ship 3 delivery: 2021
  • Ship 4 delivery: 2022
  • Ship 5 delivery: 2023
  • Ship 6 delivery: 2024
  • Full operational capability: 2025
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • 2026

*Key milestones and timeline are reflective of the currently approved schedule.

Learn more about the Defence procurement process

Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

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.

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.

Benefiting Canadian 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. The total IRB obligation is $3.1 billion. As of July 2019, $1.4 billion has been completed and $353 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.

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.
  • 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

  • n/a
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