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).
Details of the POLA programme
Damen and the Mexican Navy entered a technical co-operation agreement to build two of the six modular sections of the POLA vessel at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. The remaining four modules will be built at ASTIMAR shipyard in Salina Cruz, Mexico.
The keel-laying ceremony for the first ship in POLA-class, ARM Reformador, was held in August 2017.
The Mexican Government received a RAM launcher from Raytheon for its POLA programme in October 2018.
ARM Reformador was launched in November 2018 and is scheduled to be commissioned into service in 2020. The Mexican Navy plans to acquire up to eight POLA-class patrol vessels.
POLA-class design and features
The modular hull of the POLA-class is divided into six modules. Each module can be built separately in different shipyards and united for final assembly and integration.
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).
Weapon systems on board POLA patrol vessel
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 patrol vessel will be equipped with a range of countermeasures systems such as C-Guard naval decoy launchers, electronic support measures (ESM), and electronic countermeasures (ECM) systems.
The C-Guard decoy launching system will protect the ship from advanced threats such as small-range radio frequency missiles, infrared guided missiles and next-generation torpedoes.
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 25k and endure at sea for more than 20 days.