In a commissioning ceremony held in Halifax on June 26, 2021, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) welcomed into service the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430), while thousands of Canadians and RCN team members watched virtually.
This occasion represented a significant achievement for the Canadian shipbuilding industry and for the RCN as the first ship of the Navy’s future fleet, delivered under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, officially entered service.
«As HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) 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», said Rear-Admiral (RAdm) Chris Sutherland, Acting Commander of the RCN.
The Harry DeWolf-class AOPS will bolster the RCN’s presence in the Arctic and its ability to operate globally. Specifically designed to patrol Canada’s northernmost regions and offshore waters, this new class of ship will be at the core of an enhanced Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Arctic presence, effectively complementing the capabilities of our other current and future warships through critical reconnaissance and surveillance activities.
In fact, the ship will depart Halifax in August for the North to participate in Operation Nanook, Canada’s signature, annual Arctic operation designed to exercise the defence of Canada and to secure our northern regions.
Following completion of its contribution to Op Nanook, HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) will proceed this fall to transit through Canada’s fabled Northwest Passage, and then carry on to circumnavigate North America while supporting operations in the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean Basin.
«HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) 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», RAdm Sutherland said.
Strong ties with northern communities will be a hallmark of all six Harry DeWolf-class ships, as each one of them will be affiliated with regions of the Inuit Nunangat. The first affiliation between HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) and the Qikiqtani region of Nunavut was formalized in May 2019. Affiliation between an HMC Ship, its sailors and civilian communities is a long-standing and honoured naval tradition, with relationships lasting throughout the service-life of the ship.
For the ship’s company, the commissioning is the pinnacle of a lot of hard work. The proud naval traditions carried out in Saturday’s ceremony included a symbolic presentation of the «keys to the ship» to the Commanding Officer, Commander Corey Gleason, the raising of the ship’s pennant and the hoisting of the ensign and jack.
«For many months, the ship’s company has been tirelessly working at sea and alongside in preparation for this historic moment», said Commander Gleason. «I am incredibly proud of the work that they have achieved, and to see this official welcome into the RCN fleet, as we prepare to embark on what will be a tremendous and exciting first deployment to Canada’s arctic waters and beyond. I have been eagerly anticipating this moment, knowing that each and every sailor on board stands proud and ready to serve in this incredible ship».
HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) – the first new ship commissioned into the RCN in more than 20 years – is named in honour of wartime Canadian naval hero Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf. This is the first time in its 111-year history that the RCN is naming a class after a prominent Canadian Navy figure. The five additional ships in the class will be named to honour other prominent Royal Canadian Navy heroes who served their country with the highest distinction.
The six Harry DeWolf-class ships are HMC Ships Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430), Margaret Brooke (AOPV 431), Max Bernays (AOPV 432), William Hall (AOPV 433), Frédérick Rolette (AOPV 434) and Robert Hampton Gray (AOPV 435).