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EXCLUSIVE: First look at Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship under construction

The Royal Canadian Navy is expecting its first Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship to be delivered in 2018. .
The Royal Canadian Navy is expecting its first Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship to be delivered in 2018. . Supplied photo: Irving Shipbuilding / Global News

Global News has an exclusive look at Canada’s first Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) being constructed in Halifax.

Canada has ordered six ships capable of armed sea-borne surveillance, including in Arctic waters. The powerful ships are capable of plowing through ice-packed waterways.

READ MORE: New Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship to be named after Nova Scotia hero

Construction of the ships began last September, with the first — to be named HMCS Harry DeWolf — scheduled to be delivered in 2018.

Each vessel will be 103 metres long and have a vehicle bay, helicopter capability and a remote-controlled 25 mm machine gun, the BAE mk 38.

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The ships will “assert and enforce Canadian sovereignty, when and where necessary,” according to the Canadian Navy website.

READ MORE: Atlantic Canadians eagerly attend Irving Shipbuilding’s job fair in Fort McMurray

The $26.2 billion contract for the construction of the six AOPS and 15 Canadian Surface Combatants is a big boost for Halifax, with Irving Shipbuilding anticipating growing its workforce to 2,500 at times of peak production.

WATCH: Halifax Shipyard cuts steel for first arctic patrol ship