Socarenam has begun the construction phase of the first of the six new POM overseas patrol vessels for the French Navy on October 8.
The steel cutting ceremony held at Socarenam’s Saint-Malo shipyard was attended by French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly.
Led by the French defense procurement agency, DGA (Direction générale de l’armement, “Directorate General of Armaments”), the overseas patrol vessel program (Patrouilleur Outre-mer, POM) will significantly strengthen the resources of the Frech Navy to monitor the maritime areas of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Reunion. The POMs will have, in particular, significantly improved capacities for carrying twice as much freight and 9 more passengers than the Navy’s current P400 patrol vessel. With a better range, they can also use a drone.
The POM program was announced by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Maritime Economy Conference (Assises de l’économie de la mer) on December 3, 2019. DGA ordered the six POMs from the consortium formed by Socarenam and CNN MCO, responsible respectively for manufacturing and maintenance during the first six years of their operational service.
The six POMs will be based in Nouméa for New Caledonia, Port des Galets for Reunion Island and Papeete in French Polynesia, with two units per home port and will entirely replace the older generation of P400 patrol boats.
The six vessels will be delivered by the end of 2025 and will fully replace the older generation of P400 patrol boats. The first patrol boat will arrive in New Caledonia at the end of 2022.
With extensive capacities, the vessels will be able to carry out missions for up to 30 days without refueling with a crew of 30 sailors, embark 23 passengers and operate an aerial drone. The POM is the first French Navy small vessel to integrate a drone system.
The armament on the POM vessels will include a 20mm remote-operated turret along with 12.7 and 7.62mm gun mounts.
The vessels will ensure sovereignty and protection missions in the French Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), intervention against maritime pollution and in favor of the preservation of the environment, as well as rescue and assistance missions. Due to its numerous overseas departments and territories scattered on all oceans of the planet, France has the largest EEZ in the world, at about 4,514,000 square miles.
POM General characteristics:
• Displacement: approximately 1,300 t;
• Dimensions: Length: 79.9 m, width: 12 m, draft: <3.5 m;
• Range: greater than 5,500 nautical miles at 12 knots;
• Endurance: 30-day battery life;
• Maximum speed: 24 knots;
• Crew: 30 sailors + 23 people (gendarmes, commandos);
• Armament: one 20mm remote-operated cannon, two 12.7mm and two 7.62mm machine guns;
• An air/surface surveillance radar, a tactical situation system, a day/night optronic identification system;
• Satellite communication (SATCOM) capability;
• Two 8m fast boats a ramp and davit, a service boat;
• Installations for a vertical take-off of landing (VTOL) drone up to 200 kg;
• Deck storage capacity for a 20 foot container and handling crane;
• Towing and pollution control capacity;
• Hydrographic measurement capability.