Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS)
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Canada defends more coastline than any other country, as it is bounded by three oceans. Canada protects its maritime approaches from smuggling, trafficking and pollution, and also provides life-saving search and rescue as well as opportunities for scientific research. The fleets also act internationally to meet our commitments and protect our interests.
In June 2010, the Government of Canada announced the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Through this strategy, Canada will replace the current surface fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard, which are reaching the end of their operational lives. First in line will be the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) for the Royal Canadian Navy in the combat package. These will be followed by the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC). The Joint Support Ships (JSS) will be built for the Royal Canadian Navy under the non-combat work package.
The AOPS project will deliver six ice-capable offshore patrol ships that will conduct sovereignty and surveillance operations in Canada's Exclusive Economic Zone, including in the Arctic. The Royal Canadian Navy will also use the AOPS to support other units of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in the conduct of maritime-related operations and to support other government departments in carrying out their mandates, as required. The AOPS project will also deliver associated jetty infrastructure in Esquimalt (BC), Halifax (NS) and Nanisivik,(NU).
The AOPS are key to the Government of Canada’s ability to deliver on three of our guiding strategies – the Canada First Defence Strategy, the Northern Strategy, and the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
On June 18, 2015, the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, along with Scott Armstrong, Member of Parliament Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, cut steel on a test module for the Harry DeWolf, the lead Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS). Building this test module will enable the shipyard to test its new processes, get personnel familiar with the new equipment, and streamline construction for when full production begins in the fall of 2015.
On January 23, 2015, the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, along with the Honourable Peter MacKay, Regional Minister for Nova Scotia, announced the awarding of the build contract with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. for the construction of six Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS).
On January 12, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada has reached agreements with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. This charts the course for construction of Canada’s combat and non-combat surface fleets under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
The strategic sourcing arrangements, called umbrella agreements, with each of the selected shipyards have been signed. Individual ship construction contracts will now be negotiated with the respective shipyards.
On March 7, 2013, the first two tasks of the AOPS Definition Contract were awarded to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. With this contract, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. will refine and complete the AOPS design to a production-ready state. This contract will be followed by a construction contract in 2015.
The project will deliver six fully supported AOPS capable of:
- conducting armed sea-borne surveillance of Canada's waters, including the Arctic;
- providing government situational awareness of activities and events in these regions; and
- cooperating with other elements of the CAF and other federal government departments to assert and enforce Canadian sovereignty, when and where necessary.
The AOPS project will also deliver associated jetty infrastructure in Esquimalt (BC), Halifax (NS) and Nanisivik,(NU).
Proposed Ship Capabilities
The AOPS will have a number of capabilities that will allow the ships to assist the Royal Canadian Navy in carrying out missions. The following high-level draft requirements are examples of these capabilities, and will be studied and refined during project definition. AOPS will:
- be capable of performing independent open ocean patrols on the east and west coasts of Canada, and in the Canadian Arctic during the navigable season;
- designed to a Polar Class 5 international ice classification standard which will allow for operations in first year ice up to one metre in thickness;
- have a capability to manoeuvre in ice, however AOPS will not provide icebreaking services to others;
- be able to sustain operations for up to four months;
- have a range of at least 6 800 nautical miles at 14 knots;
- have a sufficient command, control and communication capability to exchange real-time information with the Canadian Armed Forces Maritime Security Operations Centres;
- have a cruising speed of at least 14 knots and a maximum speed of at least 17 knots;
- have a gun armament; and
- remain operational for 25 years beyond Initial Operational Capability.
- be capable of embarking and operating a variety of helicopter types up to and including the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Cyclone helicopterbe capable of embarking and deploying a variety of boat types to support activites such as boarding operations and transfer of cargo and personnel for ship-to-shore transfer as well as arrangements for cargo and container storage to support CAF and Other Government Departments operations.
Information for Industry
Over the next decade, the Project Management Offices for AOPS and JSS will deliver two classes of ships to the Royal Canadian Navy. The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy selected the shipyards to build these ships. Using a similar methodology, the Naval Shipbuilding Projects Office aims to procure in-service support for these ships.
The Naval Shipbuilding Project Office can be contacted at NSPO-OPCN@forces.gc.ca.
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