Irving Shipbuilding press release
Construction of Canada’s future combat fleet begins at Irving Shipbuilding’s Marine Fabricators facility in Dartmouth, where 32 people are involved in the computerized plasma cutting and delivery of 4,000 tonnes of steel each year in support of the AOPS program. The resulting 70,000 pieces are fabricated in a strategic sequence to meet the production schedule at Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Shipyard, the most modern and largest indoor shipbuilding facility in North America.
The steel weighs 3734 kilograms (3.7 tonnes) and will be used in a combination of locations on the ship, including the initial pieces that will begin the development of the keel. Upon completion, the future HMCS Robert Hampton Gray will be 103.6 meters in length, have a 19-meter beam, displace 6,615 tonnes, and be comprised of 440,000 parts. Each AOPS vessel has over 300kms of cable and more than 36kms of pipe.
To date, two AOPS have been delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy – HMCS Harry DeWolf and HMCS Margaret Brooke. The future HMCS Max Bernays (AOPS 3) is due for delivery next month. The future HMCS William Hall (AOPS 4) recently moved all Mega Blocks to land level and is undergoing final assembly in preparation for launch later this year. The future HMCS Frédérick Rolette (AOPS 5) officially laid the keel in June of this year and construction of the bow, mid-ship and stern Mega Blocks are underway.
“The National Shipbuilding Strategy is creating jobs and economic activity across Canada, including locally in Halifax where the number of companies and workers benefitting from this program has increased substantially since 2015. As the sixth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship to be added to the Royal Canadian Navy fleet under the Strategy, cutting the first steel for the future HMCS Robert Hampton Gray is an important milestone in our work to equip our Navy with the ships they need to protect Canadian interests.”
Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Halifax Shipyard will also construct two AOPS variants for the Canadian Coast Guard, followed by 15 Canadian Surface Combatants for the Navy that are due to commence construction in 2024.
The Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) sixth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) is named in honour of Lieutenant (Lt) Robert Hampton Gray, a Canadian naval hero of the Second World War.
Lt Gray joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1940 and served as a pilot in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. He embarked in His Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Formidable with 1841 Squadron, joining the war in the Pacific as part of Operation Iceberg, the invasion of Okinawa, Japan, in April 1945.
Lt Gray was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for courage and determination in carrying out daring air strikes on the Japanese destroyer His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Ship (HIJMS) Amakusa.
Lt Gray was known to his fellow military members as a courageous leader with a brilliant flying spirit, who continued to inspire and motivate his crew after his unfortunate passing. Lt Gray was the only member of the RCN to be awarded the Canadian naval Victoria Cross from the Second World War.
“Today marks a momentous event in the life of a ship. We have reached a very significant milestone with the commencement of production on Canada’s sixth and final Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, the future HMCS Robert Hampton Gray. Robert “Hammy” Gray was the recipient of the only Canadian naval Victoria Cross in the Second World War. His courage and determination will endure within the steel used to forge the newest and final addition to the Harry DeWolf-class. The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships are a critical platform for our Navy, they will ensure that we can patrol, secure and protect Arctic waters for decades to come.”
Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, Commander Royal Canadian Navy