Mexican Navy Wants to Build Fleet of Eight POLA Warships

In its SEMAR Accountability Report 2012-2018 published on November 17, 2018, the Mexican Navy laid out plans to eventually field a fleet of eight Patrullas Oceánicas de Largo Alcance (POLA) warships. The first vessel of the type, christened ARM Reformador (POLA 101) was launched on November 26.

Mexico's ARM Reformador (POLA 101) based on Damen Sigma 10514
Mexico’s ARM Reformador (POLA 101). Source: Mexican Navy

Like ARM Reformador, the vessels will be based on Damen’s Sigma 10514 frigate platform. The vessel is a little more than 105 meters long with a 14 meter beam and can accommodate 120 crew members. Powered by Combined Diesel or Electric (CODOE) 2×10,000 kW engines and 2×1,300 kW engines, the vessels can reach a maximum speed of 28 knots. Each vessel is equipped with a 76 mm gun, close in weapons system (CIWS), ship-to-ship missile launches, short range air defense weapons, torpedo launchers, chaff dispensers, and a full electronic complement provided by Thales and Indra.

The vessels meet a number of longstanding needs of the Mexican Navy. Mexico City wants to develop the ability to exercise greater maritime presence, speed its deployment, and patrol the sea beyond its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). While Mexico’s current fleet of patrol vessels enable it to patrol its EEZ, the longer range POLA vessels will expand Mexico’s capabilities. Finally, Mexico wants the vessels to be interoperable with other navies, enabling the country to increase its presence during international peacekeeping operations and naval exercises.

While the Navy has laid out this requirement, funding remains a question. President-Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has vowed to cut spending in order to balance the budget. With that in mind, investing in eight advanced warships may not happen.

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