The Royal Canadian Navy is set to officially welcome the first Arctic and offshore patrol ship to its fleet on Friday.
HMCS Harry deWolf is the first armed warship to have been finished through the federal government’s multibillion-dollar shipbuilding plan.
It arrives two years behind schedule. The original plan was to have Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax deliver the ship in 2018, before the date was pushed to the end of 2019 and then the first three months of 2020 before finally arriving at this date.
The deWolf is the first of six new Arctic and offshore patrol vessels to be built in decades for the Royal Canadian Navy to conduct military operations in the Arctics.
Rob Huebert, an expert on the Arctic at the University of Calgary, told the Canadian Press that the deWolf’s arrival heralds a significant shift for the navy, which has tended to focus on the rest of the world and leave Canada’s Far North to the Canadian Coast Guard.
More and more countries are starting to increase their interest — and military footprints — in the Arctic as it becomes easier to access due to climate change.
The delay in the delivery of the deWolf has put the timeline for the delivery of the next vessel in flux, though DND told Global News in March that lessons are being learned from the construction of the first vessel that will benefit the seven additional vessels to come.
Construction of the third and fourth vessel is already underway.
With files from The Canadian Press
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