Irving Shipbuilding opened its new facility to the media, inviting reporters in for a first look at its steel cutting equipment for the Arctic offshore patrol ship project.

In a news release, the federal government said the test will enable shipyard workers to test new processes, get familiar with the equipment and streamline construction when full production begins this fall.

In January, Irving Shipbuilding and the federal government signed a deal that guaranteed building five ships with a ceiling of $2.3 billion, with the possibility of a sixth ship being built if cost targets were met.

At the time, Irving Shipbuilding said employment for the Arctic offshore patrol ship project will reach 1,000 during the peak construction period. Another 600 to 800 workers will be employed on other projects, the company said.