The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has officially commissioned its first Arctic and offshore patrol ship (AOPS), HMCS Harry DeWolf.

HMCS Harry DeWolf is the first of six Harry DeWolf-class AOPSs being built by Irving Shipbuilding.

The company was awarded a $2.3bn contract in January 2015 as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS).

The patrol vessels will be deployed to carry out armed seaborne surveillance and sovereignty in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in addition to the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic coasts.

In 2018, the RCN’s lead AOPS was launched in the Bedford Basin. The ship was delivered to the service in July last year.

The ship has been named after wartime Canadian naval hero vice-admiral Harry DeWolf.

Construction of the third, fourth and fifth AOPS is currently underway, while construction of the sixth ship is expected to start next year.

RCN acting commander rear-admiral Chris Sutherland said: “As HMCS Harry DeWolf enters into naval service and prepares to depart on its first operation, I can’t tell you how excited the Royal Canadian Navy is about what this represents.”

The AOPS is a 103m-long vessel with a 19m-long beam. It will bolster the Canadian Navy’s presence in the Arctic and its global operating ability.

Designed to patrol Canada’s northernmost regions and offshore waters, HMCS Harry DeWolf would be at the core of an enhanced Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Arctic presence.

Sutherland added: “HMCS Harry DeWolf is not only the first of its class, and the first RCN ship to enter service under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, it represents what the future holds for the RCN as we continue to expand our presence in the north and grow our capability to operate across the globe. It represents the modern and capable ships that the sailors of tomorrow will be crewing; it represents the future, and that future is here.”

In September last year, OSI Maritime Systems completed the delivery of its sixth Integrated Navigation and Bridge System (INBS) shipset for RCN’s AOPS programme.