Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships

Project summary

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. The vessels will be delivered through the AOPS project, which is part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The Harry DeWolf-class vessels will:

  • provide armed, sea-borne surveillance of Canadian waters, including in the Arctic;
  • enforce Canadian sovereignty in cooperation with Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) partners and other government departments;
  • provide important awareness of activities in Canada’s waters.

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.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is currently scheduled to deliver to 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.

Phases of the Arctic and offshore patrol ships project

Currently in Phase 4: Implementation

1. Identification

1. Identification

  • Completed through the National Shipbuilding Strategy
2. Options analysis

2. Options analysis

  • Completed through the National Shipbuilding Strategy
3. Definition

3. Definition

  • Project Approval Definition: December 2012
4. Implementation

4. Implementation

  • Project Approval Implementation: December 2014
  • Contract Award: January 2015
  • First Delivery:  2018
  • Initial Operational Capability: 2019
  • Full Operational Capability: 2023
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • 2024

 Learn more about the Defence procurement process

Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

December 2017

Construction of the third vessel, the future HMCS Max Bernays, began.

December 2017

The future HMCS Harry DeWolf’s third and final mega-block moved from inside the Halifax Shipyard’s Assembly and Ultra Hall facility to the exterior land level construction point, where it joined to the first two mega-blocks to form the complete vessel.

July 2017

The first two of three mega-blocks of the future HMCS Harry DeWolf were moved from inside the Halifax Shipyard’s Assembly and Ultra Hall facility to the exterior land-level construction point.

August 2016

Construction of the second vessel, the future HMCS Margaret Brooke, began.

September 2015

Construction of the first vessel, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf, began. The future fleet has been designated the Harry DeWolf-class. Four additional vessels in the class have also been named:

  • HMCS Margaret Brooke
  • HMCS Max Bernays
  • HMCS William Hall
  • HMCS Frédérick Rolette

The AOPS project also includes jetty infrastructure in Esquimalt, B.C., and Halifax, N.S., and a berthing and fueling facility in Nanisivik, Nunavut.

January 2015

The Government of Canada announced a $2.6 billion contract (taxes included) to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. to build the Harry DeWolf-class vessels, marking the start of the construction phase under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Benefiting Canadian Industry

Commitment to Canadian Industry

Industrial and Regional Benefits


Some of the links below lead to websites that are not part of the Government of Canada and may be available in English only.

The build contract with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is for five to six ships. The contract is structured to include significant incentives to keep shipbuilding costs down and deliver six ships within a ceiling price. If costs increase due to unforeseen factors, the contract guarantees the delivery of five ships within that same ceiling price.

Technical Information

Harry DeWolf-class vessel specifications

  • Length: 103 metres
  • Beam: 19 metres
  • Complement: 65
Project costs

Project costs

The budget for the AOPS project is $3.5 billion. In addition, $3.6 billion is expected to be spent on personnel and operating costs during a 25-year service life. The in-service support allocation for 25 years will be approximately $2.5 billion.

The $3.5 billion acquisition budget for the AOPS project includes, amongst others, the following:

  • ship design
  • project management
  • materials and labour needed to build all the ships
  • jetty infrastructure
  • initial spare parts
  • technical data
  • training of crew
  • inflation
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