Dutch company Damen Shipyards and the Mexican Navy (Armada de MÃ©xico), along with subcontractors and suppliers have completed successful sea trials of the Mexican Navy’s POLA-class ARM Reformador. 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 announcement to build the Long Range Ocean Patrol (“POLA” from its initials in Spanish) vessel was made in June 2018.
Damen has built up a strong relationship with the Mexican Navy over the last decade. This has resulted in the construction and delivery of more than ten naval vessels of various designs. Damen has also worked closely with yards like the ASTIMAR 20 naval shipyard in Salina Cruz, Mexico, where the ARM Reformador has been built. These collaborative efforts are ensuring a significant transfer of technology and knowledge into the Mexican shipbuilding industry. Damen has placed contracts at local companies for supplies and assistance during the construction of the ARM Reformador.
The Mexican equivalent of Damen’s SIGMA Frigate 10514, has a length of 107 metres, displacement of 2570 tons, and a beam of 14 metres. The Sigma class is a modular naval vessels, of either corvette or frigate size, designed by Damen Group. It will be able to sail at speeds of up to 25+ knots and has an endurance of more than 20 days at sea. 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 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 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.