The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has received the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), called HMCS Harry DeWolf.

The vessel, the first of a class of six ships, will support surveillance and defence activities across Canada’s three coasts.

HMCS Harry DeWolf is also the first ship to be developed through the federal government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The AOPS is capable of operating in up to 120cm of first-year sea ice. It can also accommodate a Cyclone helicopter, as well as small vehicles, deployable boats, and cargo containers for operations.

Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit S Sajjan said: “Since the announcement of our fully funded defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, we have reached another milestone.

“By ensuring that our defence policy was fully funded, our sailors will have the confidence they will receive all of the ships outlined in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, including six AOPS for the Royal Canadian Navy.

“This milestone is important for our homegrown defence industry, for the Royal Canadian Navy, and for the protection of Canada.”

The RCN will now carry out post-acceptance trials and training of HMCS Harry DeWolf. Formal commissioning of the ship is expected next year, and the vessel will then enter active naval service.

The construction of three following ships of the same class is currently underway. The fifth and sixth Harry DeWolf-class vessels will enter the construction phase in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Once delivered, these ships will patrol Canada’s offshore waters and northernmost regions. The vessels are also designed to undertake a variety of domestic and international missions.