The video above is from Naval News via YouTube. Below is the information provided on the YouTube page.
Presentation of the first POM (Patrouilleur Outre-Mer or Offshore Patrol Vessel – OPV – for the overseas territories), the “Auguste Bénébig”, by its commander. This new French Navy (Marine Nationale) vessel will be based in Noumea, New Caledonia, in the Southern Pacific Ocean.
This new class of modern OPVs marks the renewal of the assets of the French Navy based overseas to protect French interests in the Indo-Pacific.
The increased autonomy (endurance–Chuck) of the patrol boat and its state-of-the-art equipment give it the capacity to operate far and for a long time in the wide French maritime zones in the Indo-Pacific.
This class of ships was designed by SOCARENAM. It can implement the SMDM drone. The POM vessel are 79.9 meters long and 11.8 meters wide, with a draft of 3.5 meters for a displacement of 1,300 tons at full load.
We have looked at the UAS these ships will deploy with here, “First Three SMDM Fixed-Wing UAS Delivered To The French Navy” –Naval News.
We talked about these ships in regard to how similar their missions are to those of Coast Guard cutters here, “SOCARENAM Shipyard Selected to Deliver 6 French Navy OPVs for Overseas Territories” –Naval News.
And about how close these were to my concept of Cutter X here, “France confirms order for six new POM Offshore Patrol Vessels” –Naval News, Another Cutter X
Like an FRC:
I always thought these looked like oversized Webber class, the proportions are similar and the much larger POM is not much more complicated than the Webber class. The crew of the POM is 30, only six more than that of the FRC. Both have a bridge with a 360-degree view positioned well aft, minimizing vertical acceleration. Both have an 8 meter boat in a stern ramp. The armament is similar with four .50 cal. machine guns and a single medium caliber gun in the bow, a 20mm on the POM and a 25mm on the FRC. The POM has a diesel electric and diesel powerplant but despite its much greater displacement, I doubt it has any more horsepower than the FRC (I have not been able to find a figure for the POM). With similar crew and systems, they should not cost much more than the FRCs to operate.
Unlike an FRC:
It appears the thinking was that they wanted a ship to do the same sorts of missions the Webber class Fast Response cutters (FRC) are doing out of Guam, but they also recognized that these ships would be far from any major naval base and that they would need to travel great distances and would be exposed to extreme weather conditions, so they needed to be larger (1300 tons vs 353 tons) and have greater endurance (30 days vs 5 days). Their range is 5500 nmi compared to 2500 for the FRC.
Having chosen a larger hull, they took advantage of the greater volume and deck space to add a second RHIB, a multimode radar, space for 29 passengers (roughly a platoon of Marines), a sickbay, a dive locker, space for a 20 foot containerized mission module, a flight deck and hangar for a 700-kilogram-class rotor-blade drone (not yet deployed), and a holding area for up to six prisoners.
How many of these vessels are either currently stationed in New Caledonia, and what other Island Nation States are located near New Caledonia that might be interested in acquiring them instead of those constructed in Australia and the United States…
The French currently have 3 built and deployed. 1 at Reunion in the Western Indian Ocean, 1 at Noumea in New Caledonia and 1 at Papeete in Tahiti. They are building 3 more in total, one for each of the previously named locations so that each has 2.
Sorry, correction….the one for Reunion is still building and isn’t expected to be delivered until later in the year.
Two each of these are going to New Caledonia, Tahiti, and Reunion in the Indian Ocean.
The US has not been selling any new patrol boats to Pacific Island Nations.
Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat program provides boats as donations, but they are even smaller than the FRCs.
France is trying to keep their collective foot in the [Pacific Ocean] door after losing their “Barracuda” SSRN contract with Australia to the UK! Besides the FRC, I’d be hard pressed to come up with any Pacific Ocean Nation State that operates a French designed naval vessel…
@Secundius, the Philippines CG has this French built OPV https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2019/07/19/ocea-launched-largest-aluminum-opv-in-the-world-for-philippine-coast-guard-naval-news/
and four smaller French built patrol boats. https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2018/12/28/two-ocea-fpb-72-mkii-delivered-to-the-philippine-coast-guard-navyrecognition/
Hi Chuck, to answer your question the POM’s main propulsion is provided by 2x ABC 16V DZC medium speed diesels (~3.7MW each @ 1,000rpm).
ABC diesels are known to be very reliable and easy to maintain, even in remote parts of the world – certainly more than your typical MTU high-speed diesel on the FRCs. Definitely also cheaper to buy & own. The ABC diesels are the same design as installed on the 4 L’Adroit class OPVs (now ARA Bouchard) and the 3 French PLG patrol boats, which all have 12V engines except for the 3 Argentinian new build half-sisters to l’Adroit which have 16Vs.
@H_K, thanks for the info. That means a bit less than 10,000 HP, so less than the FRCs’ 11,600. I heard they had electric motors as well, presumably for cruise or loitering. Any info?
If L’Adroit (now ARA Bouchard) had 12V engines and the three new OPVs have 16V engines, then presumably they have about a third more horsepower. That should add a knot or two to their speed.