The video includes a 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 represents a renewal of the French Navy’s assets deployed overseas to protect French interests in the Indo-Pacific. The patrol boat’s increased autonomy and cutting-edge equipment allow it to operate far and for a long time in the vast French maritime zones of the Indo-Pacific. Socarenam designed this class of ships. It is capable of implementing the SMDM drone. The POM vessel is 79.9 meters long and 11.8 meters wide, with a draft of 3.5 meters and a full load displacement of 1,300 tons.
The Auguste Benebig, was launched at the Socarenam shipyard in Saint-Malo (Brittany) on 15 October 2021 and started the sea trials on 26 July 2022.
The vessel departed Brest naval base in mid-January 2023 to join its Nouméa home port via the Panama Canal.
POM Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Indo-Pacific
For the record, the French Minister of the Armed Forces confirmed on January 17, 2020 an order for six “POM” offshore patrol vessels (OPV). The contract was awarded on December 24, 2019 to a Socarenam / CNN MCO consortium by the French armament procurement agency (DGA). Intended for the French Navy, these OPVs will be based in French overseas territories to replace ageing P400-class patrol boats.
The future POM patrol vessels will carry out protection missions in the French exclusive economic zones (EEZ), intervention against maritime pollution and for environmental protection, as well as rescue and assistance to people.
Two patrol boats will each be based in New Caledonia (Nouméa), French Polynesia (Papeete) and La Réunion (Port-des-Galets). The first of them, based in New Caledonia, will be christened August Bénébig, a native of Noumea and will be followed by the Jean Tranape. Those destined for French Polynesia will be baptized Teriieroo a teriierooiterai and Philippe Bernardino, those in La Réunion Auguste Techer and Félix Éboué.
The POM will have an endurance of 30 days without refueling. Each ship will accommodate a crew of 30 sailors and 23 passengers and operate an unmanned aerial vehicle (SMDM Aliaca by Survey Copter). Their armament will include a 20mm caliber remote-controlled turret (Narwhal by Nexter), as well as 12.7 mm and 7.62mm machine guns. Nexeya is supplying the combat management system. HENSOLDT UK is supplying the Kelvin Hughes Mk11 SharpEye surface search radars with combined HENSOLDT MSSR 2000 IFF systems. Vestdavit is supplying fast rescue boat davit systems.