Canada’s defence policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) – commits to acquiring five to six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS), designated the Harry DeWolf-class in honour of Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a Canadian wartime naval hero.
On December 8, 2017, the bow section of the first AOPS was transported on heavy lift transporters from inside the Halifax Shipyard’s indoor shipbuilding facility outside to land level. Work will continue over the coming weeks to fully join the bow mega-block and its components to the centre and stern mega-blocks, which were transported to land level in July 2017.
“As the first ship of the class, having the future HMCS Harry DeWolf assembled at land level is a significant milestone for the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the AOPS program, and our 1,800 shipbuilders,” said Kevin McCoy, president, Irving Shipbuilding.
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The Harry DeWolf-class vessels can operate effectively in the Arctic, providing a greater CAF presence in the north, and increase the period of operation between June and October, when Arctic waters can be navigated.
They can be deployed for up to 120 days and are capable of operating in first-year ice up to one meter thick. They will allow the Royal Canadian Navy to have unescorted access to areas of the Arctic that were previously inaccessible.
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Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is currently scheduled to deliver to the first vessel to the Royal Canadian Navy in 2018, with all vessels on schedule for 2022.
The cost estimate for the AOPS project is $9.6 billion over the planned 25 year operational life of the vessels, which includes ships and jetty infrastructure.