Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, on October 8 launched the construction phase of the first of the six overseas patrol boats, during a ceremony marking the first metal cut for the ship at the Saint-Malo shipyard.
Led by the Directorate General of Armament (DGA), the Patrouilleur Outre Mer (overseas patrol vessel, POM) program will significantly strengthen the resources of the Navy to monitor the maritime areas of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and La Réunion.
In particular, POMs will have significantly improved capacities to carry twice as much freight and nine more passengers than P400 patrol boats. With a greater range, they can also operate a drone.
The POM program will complete the renewal of the French Navy patrol vessels stationed overseas. The six POMs will be delivered by the end of 2025 and will fully replace the older generation of P400 patrol boats. The first POM vessel will arrive in New Caledonia at the end of 2022.
The design and construction of POMs represent between 500 and 600 highly-qualified and non-relocatable jobs on the sites of Socarenam (in Saint-Malo and Boulogne-sur-Mer) and of its many subcontractors in France.
The POM program was announced by the President of the Republic at the Conference on the Economy of the Sea on December 3, 2019. It allows the renewal of the fleet of patrol boats stationed overseas.
On December 24, 2019, the DGA ordered the six POMs from the consortium formed by Socarenam and CNN MCO, responsible respectively for manufacturing and maintenance of the vessels during the first six years of their operational service.
The six POMs will be based in Noumea for New Caledonia, Port des Galets for Reunion Island and Papeete for French Polynesia, with two units per home port. They will completely replace the older generation of P400 patrol boats.
In a context of growing threats to fishery resources, biodiversity and the application of international rules of the law of the sea, the POMs will carry out missions of sovereignty and protection of national interests in the French Exclusive Economic Zones and their surroundings: fisheries police, intervention against maritime pollution and in favor of the preservation of the environment, fight against illicit activities including drug trafficking and illegal immigration, assistance to vessels in difficulty, and rescue of people at sea.
The POM is the first small vessel to operate a drone system. Its stability performance has been adapted to the navigation conditions which can be extremely difficult in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
It also features an innovative hybrid propulsion architecture and hydrographic capability. It will be able to carry out missions of up to 30 days without refueling, with a crew of 30 sailors and carry up to 23 passengers.
Main characteristics of POMs
-- displacement: approximately 1,300 t;
-- dimensions: length: 79.9 m, width: 12 m, draft: <3.5 m;
-- range: over 5,500 nautical miles at 12 knots;
-- installations for a vertical take-off drone up to 200 kg;
-- 30-day battery life;
-- maximum speed: 24 knots;
-- crew: 30 sailors;
-- passengers: 23 people (gendarmes, commandos);
-- armament: one 20mm remotely-operated cannon, two 12.7mm and two 7.62mm machine guns;
-- detection: an air / surface surveillance radar, a tactical situation system, a day / night optronic identification system;
-- satellite communication capability;
-- Drome: two 8m fast boats on a ramp and davit, a service boat;
-- deck storage capacity for a 20-foot container and handling crane;
-- towing and pollution control capacity;
-- hydrographic measurement capability.