Canadian Navy has commissioned its new HMCS Harry DeWolf Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship AOPS

According to information released by the Canadian Navy on June 25, 2021, the Royal Canadian Navy has officially commissioned the HMCS Harry DeWolf, a new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS).
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Canadian Navy HMCS Harry DeWolf Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships AOPS. (Picture source Canadian Navy)

The HMCS Harry DeWolf is the first of six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) set to be delivered to the Navy over the coming years, bringing with it new capabilities and a renewed focus on operations in the Arctic region. It’s the RCN’s first ice-capable vessel since the former HMCS Labrador was transferred away from DND in 1958 -- a move signed off on by Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf himself.

Canadian sailors have already gotten to know the new platform and proven its ability to operate in different environments, but that doesn’t take away from the significance of the formal commissioning and the tradition tied to the ceremony.

The commissioning of Harry DeWolf will mark the end of a high-tempo program of post-acceptance sea trials for Cdr Gleason and his sailors, all while navigating Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and breaking new ground in developing protocols for completing their duties while staying safe. While excitement is high for an upcoming deployment, first on the agenda is some well-deserved leave. Planned maintenance will take place over the coming weeks, while the crew enjoys the early part of summer at home with their families before returning in August to prepare for the circumnavigation of North America and participation in Canada’s signature annual Arctic operation, Op Nanook.

The HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) is the lead ship of its class of offshore patrol vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The class was derived from the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship project as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and is primarily designed for the patrol and support of Canada's Arctic regions.

On September 18, 2014, the Government of Canada announced the name of the first of the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) in Hamilton, Ont.

The HMCS Harry DeWolf has an overall length of 103.6 m with a beam of 19.0 m and a displacement of 6,615 metric tons. The ship has an enclosed foredeck that protects machinery and workspaces from Arctic climates. The vessel is powered by a diesel-electric system composed of four 4,800 hp. generators and two diesel engines rated developing 6,000 hp driving two shafts. The ship is able to reach a maximum speed of 17 knots (31 km/h) and 3 knots (5.6 km/h) as icebreaking. She has a maximum cruising range of 6,800 nautical miles (12,600 km). The ship has a crew of 65 people.

The HMCS Harry DeWolf is able to deploy containers, underwater survey equipment, or landing craft. Payload operations are aided by a 20-metric-ton crane for loading and unloading. The ship is equipped with a vehicle bay that can hold can pickup trucks, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles. The ship also has two 8.5-meter multi-role rescue boats capable of over 35 knots (65 km/h).

The HMCS Harry DeWolf is armed with one BAE Mk 38 25 mm gun and two M2 Browning machine guns. The patrol ship has an onboard hangar and flight deck for helicopters up to the size of a Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone.