“New Royal Canadian Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel Visits Norfolk After Circumnavigating North America” –USNI

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

We have talked about the Canadian Navy’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) before (more here). It is, in many ways an Offshore Patrol Vessel, that would seem right at home in the US Coast Guard. In fact, in addition to the six being built for the Royal Canadian Navy, two are being built for the Canadian Coast Guard.

I would not be surprised if the US Coast Guard opts to build something similar. This US Naval Institute News Service story provides a bit more insight into its operations and how it is being used.

The AOPS, like the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), is a VARD design. It is based on the Norwegian Coast Guard Cutter Svalbard, that was capable enough to reach the North Pole on 21 August 2019. Svalbard also completed a scientific mission for the US in the Beuford Sea in 2020, when CGC Healy had a fire in one of its main propulsion motors and was unable to recover data contained in buoys she had deployed earlier.

Most surprising for me were the comments the ship’s use of containers,

At the briefing to press in Norfolk, which was broadcast online, he noted that sea-shipping containers aboard Harry DeWolf, not usually carried on warships, can be used as laboratories for science and researchers studying changes in the Arctic.

Gleason added that at all times the ship will have two containers loaded for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to respond to emergencies when called upon.

Gleason said early on there was a key training scenario of responding in a mass casualty scenario. In it Harry De Wolf  worked with the U.S. and Canadian coast guards and naval vessels in treating and evacuating the injured aboard and taking them ashore.

On this mission to the North, Gleason said the containers had a real-time military mission. They “were used as underwater listening devices” for submarines. “Fortunately, we didn’t find any.”

I suspect the “underwater listening devices” for submarines was the Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar, TRAPS system, (more here).

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