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 patrol ships will:

  • Provide increased presence and conduct surveillance operations throughout Canada’s waters, including in the Arctic;
  • Support Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) sovereignty operations;
  • Participate in a wide variety of international operations, such as anti-smuggling, anti-piracy or international security and stability;
  • Contribute to humanitarian assistance, emergency response and disaster relief domestically or internationally;
  • Conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) and facilitate communications among other ships;
  • Support CAF core missions including capacity building in support of other nations; and
  • Support other government departments in their ability to enforce their respective mandates.

The Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships will operate in the Arctic between June and October, providing a greater, and longer, CAF presence in the north. They will be capable of operating in first-year ice of 120-centimetre thickness. This will allow the Royal Canadian Navy to have unescorted access to areas of the Arctic that were previously inaccessible.

The Harry DeWolf-class patrol ships will have the ability to sustain operations for up to four months. The Nanisivik Naval Facility and our future support ships will further extend the RCN operations by refueling and replenishing the ships.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. launched the first ship to water in September 2018. The future HMCS Harry DeWolf is expected to be delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy in the summer of 2019.

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: December 2014
  • Cut steel for ship 1 : September 2015
  • Cut steel for ship 2: August 2016
  • Cut steel for ship 3: December 2017
  • Launch of ship 1: September 2018
  • Cut steel for ship 4: early 2019
  • Cut steel for ship 5: 2019
  • Delivery of ship 1: Summer 2019
  • Initial operational capability: 2020
  • Full operational capability: 2023
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • 2024

*Key milestones and timeline are reflective of the currently approved schedule.

 Learn more about the Defence procurement process

Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

October 2018

The first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship was officially named Harry DeWolf during the traditional naming ceremony.

September 2018

The future HMCS Harry DeWolf (ship 1) was launched to water in September 2018.

The first two of three mega-blocks of the future HMCS Margaret Brooke (ship 2) were moved from inside the Halifax Shipyard’s Assembly and Ultra Hall facility to the exterior land-level construction point.

December 2017

Construction of the third ship, the future HMCS Max Bernays (ship 3), began.

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 was joined to the first two mega-blocks to form the complete ship.

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 patrol ships, 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 patrol ship specifications

  • Length: 103 metres
  • Beam: 19 metres
  • Crew: up to 65
  • Passengers: up to 20 (when full crew)
Project costs

Project costs

  • The overall program cost for AOPS is estimated at $9.6 billion over the planned 25-year operational life of the vessels. Some of the elements include the following:
  • The acquisition budget is $3.5 billion. This includes ship design, project management, materials and labour needed to build all the ships, jetty and fueling infrastructure, initial spare parts, technical data, training of crew, contingency, amongst other items.
  • In addition, $6.1 billion is expected to be spent on personnel and operating costs during the ship’s 25-year service life.
  • One in-service support contract for 35 years has been awarded for both the Joint Support Ships and Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships and is valued at $5.2 billion.
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