Construction on Royal Canadian Navy’s Final Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship Begins

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. has cut the first steel to begin construction of HMCS Robert Hampton Gray, the sixth and final Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) for the Royal Canadian Navy.

The company will provide the vessel as part of the navy’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Development of the future combat ship will begin at Irving Shipbuilding’s Marine Fabricators facility in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

The first steel cut weighs 3.7 tons (3,734 kilograms) and will be divided into many parts of the combat vessel.

HMCS Robert Hampton Gray steel cutting ceremony.
HMCS Robert Hampton Gray steel cutting ceremony. Photo: Irving Shipbuilding Inc.

In the program, 32 personnel will manage the computerized plasma cutting and delivery of 4,000 tons (4 million kilograms) of steel annually. The 70,000 pieces produced from the steel will then be assembled at the firm’s Halifax Shipyard, the “most modern and largest indoor shipbuilding facility in North America.”

HMCS Robert Hampton Gray

HMCS Robert Hampton Gray will measure 103.6 meters (340 feet) in length with a 19-meter (62 feet) beam. The ship will comprise 440,000 parts and displace  6,615 tons.

The sixth AOPS was named after Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, a Canadian naval hero during World War II who also served with the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm.

AOPS Units in the Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy has already received two AOPS units to date: HMCS Harry DeWolf and HMCS Margaret Brooke.

HMCS Max Bernays (AOPS 3) is scheduled for delivery next month, while HMCS William Hall (AOPS 4) is in its final assembly for launch later this year. HMCS Frédérick Rolette (AOPS 5) officially laid keel in June.

Halifax Shipyard is set to build two AOPS variants for the Canadian Coast Guard and 15 Canadian Surface Combatants for the navy, starting in 2024.

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