DND News

Third AOPS delivered to Canadian Navy

Today, Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, welcomed HMCS Max Bernays into the Royal Canadian Navy's fleet of Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS). This is the third AOPS now operational in the RCN. 

The Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, recognized "the important work of our shipbuilders and the thousands of Canadians that have contributed their time, expertise, and materials to support the construction of this new ship. Well done to everyone who has helped make this delivery a success.”

Built by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. of Halifax, Nova Scotia, this is the third of six new AOPS being delivered to the RCN through the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), an initiative that supports Canadian industry and jobs. Designed with a thick and robust hull, the AOPS significantly enhance the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) capabilities and presence in the Arctic, better enabling the RCN to assert and uphold Arctic sovereignty. With their considerable space to transport cargo and the capacity to embark a Cyclone helicopter, small vehicles, and deployable boats, the AOPS have the versatility to support a full range of CAF operations at home and contribute to global peace and security in coordination with our allies and partners. 

HMCS Max Bernays returns to port after completing sea trials in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (DND photo)

HMCS Max Bernays will remain at the Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard Halifax while post-acceptance work and final ship preparation work are completed. In 2023, the ship will be transferred to the West Coast, with CFB Esquimalt as its designated homeport. Construction of the sixth AOPS began with steel cutting on August 15, 2022.   

“For the third summer in a row, we are celebrating the delivery of an Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS),” commented the new Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada, Helena Jaczek. HMCS Max Bernays marks the halfway point in the delivery of these Royal Canadian Navy vessels. "On August 15th, Irving Shipbuilding officially began production of Canada’s sixth and final AOPS for the Royal Canadian Navy. Our government recognizes the exemplary work being done under the National Shipbuilding Strategy by Canadian shipyards and the economic benefits it generates in communities and across Canada."

The AOPS are highly versatile vessels that can be used on a variety of missions at home and abroad, such as coastal surveillance, search and rescue, drug interdiction, support to international partners, humanitarian aid, and disaster relief.

The AOPS are known as the Harry DeWolf-class, named in honour of Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, a Canadian wartime naval hero. The lead ship, HMCS Harry DeWolf, was delivered to Canada on July 30, 2020, and was officially commissioned into RCN service on June 26, 2021.

The second AOPS, HMCS Margaret Brooke, was named in honour of the Royal Canadian Navy Nursing Sister Lieutenant-Commander Margaret Martha Brooke, who was decorated for gallantry during the Second World War.

The third AOPS, HMCS Max Bernays, was successfully launched into the water on October 23, 2021. A naming ceremony for the ship was conducted on May 29, 2022. The third AOPS was named in honour of Chief Petty Officer Max Bernays, a Canadian naval hero who served as the Coxswain of HMCS Assiniboine during the Second World War’s Battle of the Atlantic.

“The delivery of HMCS Max Bernays […] is a proud and important milestone for our team of over 2000 skilled shipbuilders," said Dirk Lesko, President of Irving Shipbuilding. "Despite HMCS Max Bernays being built during the height of the pandemic, the ship is being delivered faster with 8% fewer production hours compared to the previous ship – HMCS Margaret Brooke (AOPS 2). We wish the crew of this fine ship fair winds, following seas and a safe return home from every mission.”

AOPS four, five and six are currently in various stages of production, with the planned delivery of one new ship every year until 2025.

The AOPS will be used by the Royal Canadian Navy to conduct sovereignty and surveillance operations in Canada's waters, including the Arctic, as well as to conduct a wide variety of operations abroad.

The Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) Policy applies to this procurement. The IRB Policy and its successor, the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy, require companies awarded defence procurement contracts to undertake business activity in Canada equal to the value of their contracts.