The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has officially launched its fourth Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and offshore patrol ship (AOPS) HMCS William Hall.

Announcing the vessel’s launch in a Facebook post, the RCN said that the latest event marks a major milestone in the construction process of the ship.

HMCS William Hall is being constructed by Canadian shipbuilding company Irving Shipbuilding.

RCN tweeted: “Our fourth AOPS, the future HMCS William Hall, has been launched into the water in Halifax! This marks another major milestone in the shipbuilding process, where [the] construction of [the] ship transfers from land to water.”

The launch comes after several days of effort by the company.

It involved rolling the AOPS onto the barge, with the help of ‘self-propelled modular transporters’, and then towing the vessel into the Bedford basin.

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According to Irving Shipbuilding’s tweet last week, the fourth AOPS’ launch required approximately 49 million litres of water to completely submerge the barge.

The RCN said that HMCS William Hall will continue to remain at the company’s Halifax Shipyard until its construction-related work is complete.

Construction of William Hall commenced in 2019 while its delivery to the RCN is expected by next year.

The vessels are being constructed as part of the country’s National Shipbuilding Strategy. In 2012, a contract for constructing a total of six AOPS was awarded to Irving Shipbuilding.

The RCN will deploy all the Harry DeWolf-class vessels to conduct several missions, including surveillance in Canadian waters and in the Arctic.

The first vessel of this class, HMCS Harry DeWolf, was delivered to the RCN in 2020.

It was followed by the delivery of the second and third AOPS in July 2021 and in September 2022, respectively.