The federal government has announced $53-million worth of engineering projects have been approved as part of the federal shipbuilding program to build arctic offshore patrol boats in Halifax.

The two tasks authorized Thursday were Engineering Design Phase 2 and the Project Implementation proposal development.

Both of which are part of the design phase of the project to build between six and eight Arctic Offshore Patrol vessels.

The federal government reconfirmed Thursday that Irving shipbuilding is on-track to start cutting steel in late 2015.

In 2011, the federal government announced that Irving Shipyards in Halifax will build up to 23 combat ships. In November, their acquisition cost was estimated at $29.3 billion.