The Mexican Navy (Semar) held a ceremony to mark the end of the acceptance and delivery period for Patrullera Oceánica de Largo Alcance (POLA), ARM Reformador (P 101), Damen has announced on 10th February. The delivery ceremony was attended by Admiral José Rafael Ojeda Durán, Secretary of the Navy and High Command of the Mexican Navy, in the company of Mr. Juan Carlos Atecas Altamirano, Municipal President of Salina Cruz Oaxaca. Damen Shipyards Group was represented by Executive Board member René Berkvens, President of Damen Shipyards Mexico Horacio Delgado, and POLA Project Director Frank Verhelst. Additionally, representatives of the Mexican naval, military and civil authorities were present.
Speaking at the ceremony, the High Command of the Navy of Mexico expressed the pride of the institution for contributing to the maritime development of the country and the naval industry: “Today, the Secretariat of the Navy has the great honor to see the culmination of one of its most important naval projects in modern history. This Long Range Ocean Patrol Vessel has completed its commissioning and trial phase to begin a life at sea in the service of the Mexicans…”
Mr. Delgado said, “This is a vessel built in Mexico, for the Mexicans and by the Mexicans. We are proud to have this vessel finished with a significant footprint in the Southeastern region of Mexico and Isthmus of Tehuantepec. This includes 750 man-years of direct Mexican labour, 400 direct jobs and more than 2,000 indirect jobs.”
The POLA 101 is the most technologically advanced vessel in Latin America and will allow the Mexican Navy to carry out missions such as safeguarding Mexican sovereignty, international security cooperation, law enforcement, long range search and rescue operations and humanitarian aid. POLA will allow the United Mexican States to increase the surveillance coverage and the protection of their maritime interests beyond the 5 million square kilometers of Mexican jurisdictional waters.
The vessel has been delivered in a record time, in less than three years after contract signing, a result of the close cooperation between all parties involved, says Mr. Verhelst. “There has been excellent cooperation between the Mexican Navy, Damen, subcontractors and suppliers, both local and international. This, combined with modular construction, has enabled a smooth transfer of knowledge and technology critical to the project’s success.”
The 107-metre long vessel is based on Damen’s SIGMA Frigate 10514 and is the tenth of its kind. This represents a great accomplishment of Damen and the Dutch maritime industry and their fruitful collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Navy, the launching customer of eight generations of Damen combatants. SIGMA is a proven design that benefits from the wealth of knowledge possessed by the Dutch naval shipbuilding industry. This comprises world-renowned research institutes such as Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) and a dedicated naval cluster of international specialist suppliers including 70 Dutch companies, including Thales. For the POLA, this cluster worked alongside various local Mexican companies, delivering valuable supplies and assistance during the construction of the vessel.
The Damen SIGMA design is conceived to be built modularly anywhere in the world and in more than one location simultaneously. For the Mexican project, two out of the six modules were built at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in the Netherlands. A Mexican team has been based in the Netherlands to supervise this process and to receive an intensive knowledge transfer. The remaining four modules were built at ASTIMAR 20 in Salina Cruz by the Mexican production team, subcontractors and suppliers. Upon completion, the six different modules were brought together for final assembly, integration,commissioning and trials with assistance from Damen, including an intensive transfer of technology and training programme.
Damen’s relationship with Mexico spans more than 40 years. During this time, Damen has delivered more than fifty vessels of various types to both private and governmental customers. The Mexican Navy is a long-standing client of Damen with the ARM Reformador (POLA-101) being their thirteenth Damen vessel. Previous deliveries include everything from patrol vessels to logistic support ships and one Damen Cutter Suction Dredger 650. Through the Damen Technical Cooperation business model, Damen has been able to successfully contribute to the Mexican shipbuilding industry by building high quality vessels locally.
POLA Class OPV :
The POLA (Patrulla Oceánica de Largo Alcance) Class long-range ocean patrol vessels are being developed jointly by Damen Shipyards Group and Mexican state-run shipyard ASTIMAR for the Mexican Navy. It is the Mexican variant of the Damen SIGMA 10514 warship.
The patrol vessel can be deployed in a range of missions such as maritime patrol, surveillance, maritime security, long-range search-and-rescue (SAR), and humanitarian assistance. It will also enable the Mexican Navy to safeguard and protect the nation’s maritime interests beyond its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The vessel has an overall length of 107m, beam of 14m and displacement of 2,570t. It will be manned by 122 crew members.
It features a stern landing spot to house a single MH-60R Seahawk multi-purpose helicopter. It also offers a hangar facility to store the embarked helicopter. The patrol vessel can launch and recover rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs).
Command and control of the ship will be handled by the Thales Tacticos combat management system (CMS). The system will integrate ten operator consoles and will be interfaced with a SMART-S Mk2 air and surface surveillance radar. It also includes a STIR 1.2 electro-optical (EO) Mk2 radar and EO tracking system, a Gatekeeper EO ship security system, as well as a Captas-2 low-frequency variable depth sonar (VDS).
The primary weapon systems fitted on-board the vessel will be a RAM Block 2 surface-to-air missile (SAM) launcher and Harpoon surface-to-surface missile (SSM) launchers. The forward bow deck will be installed with a 57mm main gun. Other gun systems on-board the vessel will include two Mk38 25mm remotely controlled machine guns and six 12.7mm M2 machine guns.
The RAM Block 2 supersonic, fire-and-forget missile integrates a larger rocket motor, advanced control section and an improved radio frequency receiver. It can also counter anti-ship missiles (ASMs).
The POLA-class patrol vessel will be powered by combined diesel or electric (CODOE) propulsion system integrating two 10MW diesel engines and two 1,300kW electric motors driving two controllable pitch propellers through two double input/single output gearboxes.
Auxiliary power generation systems on-board the vessel will include six Cat generator sets and an emergency generator set. The propulsion system will enable the ship to sail at a maximum speed of more than 25kt and endure at sea for more than 20 days.