The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has laid the keel for its future Harry DeWolf-class Arctic offshore patrol ship (AOPS) HMCS Margaret Brooke at Halifax Shipyard in Nova Scotia, marking the beginning of the vessel's construction.
HMCS Margaret Brooke is the second of six Harry DeWolf-class AOPSs being built by Irving Shipbuilding under a $2.3bn contract awarded in January 2015 as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS).
The ship has been named after RCN nursing sister Margaret Brooke, who served the navy during the Second World War.
RCN commander vice-admiral Ron Lloyd said: “This keel-laying is another exciting step forward on the road towards Canada’s future fleet.
“This innovative and highly effective class of ship will add to our ability to provide flexible options to the government, to further ensure the defence and security of Canadians.”
HMCS Margaret Brooke is expected to be officially launched during a naming / launching ceremony currently scheduled to be held in 2019.
The first vessel of the class has been named as the future HMCS Harry DeWolf, which is expected to be delivered in 2018.
The six AOPSs will be capable of operating in ice of up to 1m thick, and will be deployed to enable the navy to conduct sovereignty and surveillance operations in Canadian seas across all three coasts, including in the Arctic.
Additionally, the vessels will be used to support various other Canadian Armed Forces units during maritime-related operations, in addition to assisting other government departments in carrying out their mandates when required.
The AOPSs are set to feature advanced sensory systems, and will operate and support the new Cyclone naval helicopters.
Image: Keel-laying of the RCN’s second AOPS, HMCS Margaret Brooke. Photo: courtesy of Department of National Defence / Crown Copyright.