Canada Receives Fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship

The Royal Canadian Navy has received its fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), the HMCS William Hall, from Nova Scotia-based Irving Shipbuilding.

The handover supports Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, a program seeking new maritime capabilities to secure the country’s waters as well as parts of the Arctic and Pacific.

Under the initiative, the government invested 4.98 billion Canadian dollars ($3.66 billion) in a fleet of six Harry DeWolf-class AOPS in 2015.

The William Hall will remain in Halifax for sea trials, post-acceptance work, and final ship preparations before being commissioned into the navy.

“This new asset to Canada’s fleet has been made possible by the vital work of our shipbuilders and the thousands of Canadians that have contributed to the construction of this new ship,” Canadian Defence Minister Bill Blair said.

“We will continue to provide the Royal Canadian Navy with the ships needed to protect our country, while creating good jobs for Canadians.”

Canadian AOPS Fleet

The AOPS were developed for different Canadian Armed Forces operations and provide the service with unescorted access to remote areas.

Alongside domestic tasks, the fleet will support international security operations such as anti-piracy and anti-smuggling.

The Royal Canadian Navy will also use the vessels for humanitarian assistance in addition to armed surveillance deployments.

HMCS Harry DeWolf
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf, the country’s first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship. Photo: Canadian Navy

Ottawa commissioned the first AOPS in 2021. The government received the second and third ships in 2022.

Construction on the HMCS Robert Hampton Gray, the sixth and final AOPS, began in August last year.

National Shipbuilding Strategy

More than 50 vessels are planned under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, most of which are expected by 2030.

Under the effort, Irving will build two additional AOPS on top of the six initial vessels ordered. The company is also set to complete 15 surface combatants for the program by 2047.

Meanwhile, Vancouver Shipyards will deliver 16 multi-purpose vessels, three offshore fisheries science vessels, two joint support ships, and a single offshore oceanographic vessel under the initiative.

The designs for six Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers and the construction of one specialized Polar icebreaker are yet to be finalized.

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