The lead AOPS departed Halifax Shipyard November 22 and, using its diesel-electric engines, moved to the Bedford Basin to start initial builder’s sea trails associated with anchor handling, the integrated bridge and navigation system (IBNS), fin stabilizers, Multi-Role Rescue Boat (MRRB) launch and recovery, and communication systems.
Initial builder’s sea trials will continue over the next few weeks and will be followed by formal sea trials and acceptance by the Royal Canadian Navy. This will span into the first quarter of 2020.
At 103 metres and 6,615 tonnes, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf is the largest Royal Canadian Navy ship built in Canada in 50 years.
There are currently four AOPS under construction at Halifax Shipyard, including the future HMCS Harry DeWolf. The future HMCS Margaret Brooke was launched on November 10, 2019 and is currently pier side where work continues to prepare the ship for sea trials and handover to the Royal Canadian Navy late next year.
Inside Halifax Shipyard’s facilities, the Royal Canadian Navy’s third and fourth AOPS, the future HMCS Max Bernays and the future HMCS William Hall, are under construction. The first two major sections of the future HMCS Max Bernays are scheduled to be moved outside in spring 2020.
Over the next few decades, Halifax Shipyard will build six AOPS for the Royal Canadian Navy, two AOPS for the Canadian Coast Guard, and 15 Canadian Surface Combatants for the Royal Canadian Navy, as part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).
The Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships will 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.