The vessel conducted its SAT from November 18 to December 9 off the coast of Oaxaca and Guerrero. With the SAT now completed, the vessel if ready to enter “active service” with the the Mexican Navy.
Mexico announced a contract with the Dutch shipbuilding group Damen for the construction of one ship of the SIGMA 10514 frigate design on April 10, 2017.
The official keel laying of the frigate took place on August 17, 2017 at the Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) shipyard of the Damen group in Vlissingen (Netherlands). Two hull sections of the ship were made there, and then transfered to Mexico at the ASTIMAR-20 naval shipyard. The Mexican shipyard manufactured the remaining four sections of the hull and assembled and equipped the ship.
Initially, the Mexican Navy planned to have six POLA ships, of which five set to be put into operation by 2024, with construction at the ASTIMAR-20 shipyard. However, during the launch of the first of class ARM Reformador on November 23, 2018, the leaders of the Mexican Navy announced more cautious plans to have eight ships of this project (four each in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets) with their construction spread oover 20 years “depending on the level of funding.” So far, no contracts with Damen for the following ships of this type have been concluded. It should be noted that the Mexican Navy already has long-term experience of successful cooperation with the Damen group, with several Damen Stan Patrol 4207 project (Tenochtitlan class) and auxiliary vessels built.
During the recent SAT, the weapons systems were tested with two F-5 Tiger fighter jets from the Mexican Air Force. They were used to test the target detection of supersonic tracks, as well as detection and monitoring of multiple objectives.
About POLA-class ARM Reformador
According to the Mexican Navy, the operational capabilities of the POLA-class will contribute to the development of long-range search and rescue operations to safeguard human life at sea, as well as humanitarian relief, multinational and peacekeeping operations, which will be optimized thanks to their characteristics.
ARM Reformador is based on the SIGMA 10514 frigate design by Damen. It has a length of 107.14 meters, a beam (width) of 14.02 meters, a displacement of 2,570 tons, a maximum speed of 27 knots. It has an endurance of 21 days at sea.
Before the Mexican Navy, the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) selected the SIGMA 10514 design as their main and most modern surface combatant (it is known locally as the PKR Frigate).
The ARM Reformador weapons suite consists in:
- Boeing RGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles (most likely four)
- 8x Mk 56 VLS for Raytheon ESSM surface to air missiles
- 1x Mk 49 launcher for 21x Raytheon RAM Block II surface to air missiles
- 1x 57-mm Mk3 BAE Systems Bofors main gun
- 2x 25-mm Rafael Typhoon Mk 38 Mod 2 remote weapon stations,
- 6x 12.7-mm M2 machine guns
- 2x triple 324-mm torpedo tubes Mk 32 SVTT for Raytheon Mk 54 Mod 0 torpedoes.
The ship is equipped with a Thales SMART-S Mk 2 radar, Raytheon Anschütz Synapsis navigation radar, a Thales CAPTAS 2 variable depth and Indra Rigel electronic warfare system. Helicopter deck and hangar space for one Lockheed Martin (Sikorsky) MH-60R Seahawk.
TACTICOS combat system
The vessel is fitted with a full Thales mission suite that enables the crew to perform their surveillance and security missions. Under a Transfer of Technology agreement, Mexican Navy engineers participated in the engineering, integration and test activities of the mission suite.
Thales’s mission suite consists of the Tacticos Combat Management System, including 10 operator consoles and a large collaboration wall, the SMART-S Mk2 Air and Surface Surveillance Radar, the STIR 1.2 EO Mk2 Radar and EO Tracking system, the Gatekeeper Electro-optical Ship Security system, and the CAPTAS 2 Variable Depth Sonar.
The C-Guard Decoy launcher and RIGEL Radar-Electronic Support Measures and Radar-Electronic Counter Measures systems have been integrated into Tacticos.