Construction Begins for Canada's Next Ice-Classed Naval Vessel
On Friday, Irving Shipbuilding marked the start of construction for the future HMCS William Hall, the next in the series of the Royal Canadian Navy's Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS). She will be the fourth of six sister ships built at the Halifax Shipyard for the RCN; the lead vessel in the class is expected to join the fleet this summer.
The new AOPS - or the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV), as the design will be called in RCN service - is built to patrol Canada’s waters and northernmost regions. The Canadian Armed Forces says that the class will significantly enhance its capabilities and presence in the Arctic, enabling the Royal Canadian Navy to assert Arctic sovereignty.
“We are making significant progress on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships as Canadian workers start the construction of the fourth ship, here in Halifax. These vessels will be critical assets to the RCN," said Harjit S. Sajjan, Canada's Minister of National Defence. "Our government is delivering modern and versatile equipment to our women and men in uniform so they can successfully accomplish the work we ask of them.”
The new ships are "ice-capable" and designed to Polar Class 5 (PC5) - the same standard as Chile's next icebreaker, the Antártica 1. They are each fitted with one 25mm deck gun.
The vessels will be supported by the new Nanisivik Naval Facility, a refueling base on Baffin Island, Nunavut. The site is near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, a strategic location for the development of Arctic shipping. The Canadian Armed Forces plan to use the site as a bunkering station for operations in the far north. The project has long been delayed, but the work is ongoing and it is now expected to be complete later this year.