HMCS Harry DeWolf

The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships

At the end of July 2020, the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) – HMCS Harry DeWolf – was handed over to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). This was a great moment for several reasons. First, this is the first ship built for the navy through the National Shipbuilding Strategy (the Coast Guard has already received several ships). And, second, this is the first new ship the RCN has received since the 1990s.

The AOPS are ice-strengthened patrol ships which can operate in limited amounts of ice; they are not icebreakers. They are not heavily armed, but they will extend the navy’s ability to operate in Arctic waters, and somewhat expand its operating season there. They will also provide the RCN with new capabilities in a range of patrol, search and rescue, and security missions. Six are to be built for the navy, and two for the coast guard.

If you want to know more about the capabilities, size and functions of the AOPS, check out the Briefing Note produced by the Naval Association of Canada at


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