At 0945 local time on November 23, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf departed Halifax Shipyard for the Bedford Basin on its initial set of builder’s sea trials. Systems tested during these trials include anchor handling, the integrated bridge and navigation system, fin stabilizers, launch and recovery of Multi-Role Rescue Boats (MRRB), and communication systems.
The future HMCS Harry DeWolf is the lead ship of the Harry DeWolf class of offshore patrol vessels, otherwise known as the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS). 103 meters long and weighing 6,615 tons, the HMCS Harry DeWolf is the largest ship built in Canada for the Royal Canadian Navy in 50 years.
The builder’s sea trials will continue for the next few weeks. They will be followed by formal sea trials that will extend into the first quarter of 2020. It is currently planned for the future HMCS Harry DeWolf to be formally accepted by the Royal Canadian Navy in the winter of 2020.
The Harry DeWolf class is built to Polar Class 5 icebreaking standards, and all systems on the ship have been modified to handle arctic conditions. Ships of the class are armed with a single 25mm Mk 38 gun built by BAE Systems. They are equipped with a helicopter hangar and flight deck capable of accomodating helicopters up to the size of the CH-148 Cyclone, as well as a vehicle bay capable of housing pickup trucks, ATVs and snowmobiles for ice patrols. Deployment of various payloads is facilitated by a 20 metric ton crane capable of self-loading and unloading.
There are currently four members of the Harry DeWolf class under construction at Halifax Shipyard, including the future HMCS Harry DeWolf. The future HMCS Margaret Brooke is pierside for preparations for sea trials following its launch in November, while the future HMCS Max Bernays and the future HMCS William Hall are under construction. It is currently planned for the first two (of three) “mega blocks” of the future HMCS Max Bernays to be moved outside for assembly in the spring of 2020.
Halifax Shipyard is the main contractor for the construction of the Harry DeWolf class, and all members of the class are to be built there. The Harry DeWolf class is currently planned to consist of eight ships, with the Royal Canadian Navy receiving six ships and the Canadian Coast Guard receiving two ships.