Canada’s HMCS Harry DeWolf Class AOPS

HMCS Harry DeWolf in ice (6-8 second exposure)

The Harry DeWolf class is an almost unique type of ship. Canada is building eight, six for their Navy and two for their Coast Guard. It is derived from the similar and perhaps slightly more capable Norwegian Coast Guard vessel Svalbard, which has made it to the North Pole and recently undertook a mission the Healy was unable to complete due to a machinery casualty.

They are classified as “Artic and Offshore Patrol Ships” or AOPS, rather than icebreakers, but they are clearly designed to operate in ice and are rated Polar Class 5 (Year-round operation in medium first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions). In many ways they approximate the similarly sized and powered old Wind Class icebreakers. (2012 post on the class with updates in the comments here.)

Below are another photo and a couple of videos, but first the specs.

  • Displacement: 6,615 t (6,511 long tons)
  • Length: 103.6 m (339 ft 11 in)
  • Beam: 19 m (62 ft 4 in)
  • Draft: 6.5 m (21 ft 4 in) (estimate based on that of Svalbard)
  • Propulsion Generators: Four 3.6 MW (4,800 hp)
  • Propulsion Motors: 2 × 4.5 MW (6,000 hp)
  • Speed: 17 knots
  • Endurance: 6,800 nautical miles
  • Crew: 65 (accomodations for 85)
  • Armament: one 25mm Mk38 remote weapon system modified for Arctic Conditions and two .50 cal. machine guns (I do feel this is inadequate.)

HMCS Harry DeWolf looking forward, bow and 25mm Mk38 remote weapon system.


25 thoughts on “Canada’s HMCS Harry DeWolf Class AOPS

  1. With China already building armed Arctic patrol vessels, the armament specified apprears to be woefully inadequate for the mission.

    • The real question is, what weapons can be made to work in the arctic and how would they be used? I want SLQ-32, NULKA, and whatever gun based CIWS can be made to work so as to be dual purpose. I doubt any surface ASW gear has any use whatsoever. In that it got built and works, this is a good ship. Light years more useful than their type 26 plans are at this point.

      • It’s perfectly possible to have armed icebreakers that work in the arctic. The Wind Class icebreakers of the US Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard were heavily armed, not just heavily armed for an icebreaker, but heavily armed for any ship of that size (only 269 ft (82 m). Those little Wind Class icebreakers had four 5-inch/38 (127 mm) dual purpose guns (in 2 twin turrets), twelve 40 mm/60 AA guns (3 quadruple turrets), six 20 mm/80 AA; Y-guns, two depth charge racks, one Hedgehog launcher, M2 Browning machine guns, and small arms. That sounds like Destroyer armaments on a little 269-foot Coast Guard cutter!
        I wish we had something like that now, but instead, the new Polar Security Cutters will have two 30mm guns, one on each side, each of which is partially obstructed so it can only cover a 90-degree radius, leaving huge blind spots where the ship is vulnerable.

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  8. Steel cut for the sixth ship of class.

    “To date, two AOPS have been delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy – HMCS Harry DeWolf and HMCS Margaret Brooke. The future HMCS Max Bernays (AOPS 3) is due for delivery next month. The future HMCS William Hall (AOPS 4) recently moved all Mega Blocks to land level and is undergoing final assembly in preparation for launch later this year. The future HMCS Frédérick Rolette (AOPS 5) officially laid the keel in June of this year and construction of the bow, mid-ship and stern Mega Blocks are underway.”

    This will be the last ship of the class for the Canadian Navy, but not mentioned are two more of class planned for the Canadian Coast Guard.

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