The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has officially welcomed into service the first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf, with the time-honoured tradition of a Commissioning Ceremony. This significant occasion represents a great achievement for the Canadian shipbuilding industry and for the RCN, with the first ship of the RCN’s future fleet delivered under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, officially entering service.
The proud naval traditions carried out in today’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.
The Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (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.
HMCS Harry DeWolf 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 remainder in the class will be named to honour other prominent Royal Canadian Navy heroes who served their country with the highest distinction.
“Today’s ceremony marks an historic day for the Canadian Armed Forces as we welcome the first ship of the Royal Canadian Navy’s future fleet into service. HMCS Harry DeWolf and the Arctic and Offshore Patrol ships that will follow it into service will enable the Royal Canadian Navy to maintain an enhanced presence in Canada’s North, to patrol and protect our Arctic sovereignty, and to keep Canada safe and strong at home. This enhanced presence is significant, as it also enables the RCN to continue to foster its affiliation with the communities of the North, and to engage and learn from the people of this important region. Today, with the commissioning of our first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, we are witnessing a moment in history, and I wish HMCS Harry DeWolf and its crew the very best as they prepare to embark on their first operational deployment.”
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
“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. Following completion of its contribution to Op NANOOK, Harry DeWolf will proceed this fall to transit through Canada’s fabled Northwest Passage, and carry on to circumnavigate North America while supporting operations in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Basin. 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.”
Rear-Admiral Chris Sutherland, Acting Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy
“For many months, the ship’s company of HMCS Harry DeWolf has been tirelessly working at sea and alongside in preparation for this historic moment. As Commanding Officer, 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.”
Commander Corey Gleason, Commanding Officer, HMCS Harry DeWolf
Under Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada is investing in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to ensure it can respond to current and future defence challenges.
The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) will significantly enhance the CAF’s capabilities and presence in the Arctic, better enabling the RCN to assert and uphold Arctic sovereignty. The AOPS will also augment Canada’s presence offshore, and will be capable of conducting a wide variety of operations abroad.
The first AOPS, HMCS Harry DeWolf, was launched in fall 2018, and was delivered to the RCN on July 31, 2020. It was commissioned on June 26, 2021. Construction of AOPS three, four and five is ongoing, and construction of the sixth ship is expected to begin in 2022.
The ships of the Harry DeWolf class will be affiliated with regions of the Inuit Nunangat. The first affiliation between HMCS Harry DeWolf 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.
HMCS Harry DeWolf is scheduled to participate in the maritime portion of Operation NANOOK in August 2021, following which it will transit through the Northwest Passage, and carry on to circumnavigate North America.