In late 2004, the Government of Canada signed a contract with Victoria Shipyards for the design and build of six Orca Class training vessels for the Canadian Navy. By December 2006, Canada amended the contract to add two more vessels for a total of eight Orca vessels all to be delivered by February 2010.
These vessels were designed using a proven hull form from the Australian Navy and to replace an aging fleet of wooden hulled, expensive to maintain, YAG training vessels. The Orca vessels are 33 meters in length and certified to ABS Class standards. The steel hulled vessel was designed to be compatible with existing military and civilian standards currently in use, also ensuring that rigorous environmental considerations were incorporated.
The extra large wheelhouse provides an ideal training environment and includes matching bridge stations to allow for up to six trainees to learn concurrently. The vessels also include a dedicated training room and enhanced accommodations for each of the twenty-four crew and trainees.
The Orca Class vessels are all based out of CFB Esquimalt, and are designed to operate throughout the year in non-ice covered waters and in common wind, wave, tide and current conditions found in Canadian and United States coastal and littoral waters.
On November 27, 2008 the eighth and final Orca vessel (PCT Moose 62) was delivered to the Canadian Navy; a full 15 months ahead of schedule. Since then, the vessels have been used extensively for training of Regular and Reserve Force naval personnel, and three vessels were temporarily modified to assist with Port Security for the 2010 Winter Olympics.