The French General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) received the Auguste Bénébig, the first overseas patrol vessel (POM), on May 5, 2023 in Nouméa, its home port.
This reception concludes a campaign of sea trials on the ship, which began in Brest at the end of 2022, continued during its long-term deployment from Brest to Noumea between January 14 and April 3, 2023, and since completed in the area. This campaign was conducted by experts from the DGA in close collaboration with the sailors of the crew and the permanent commission for programs and trials (CPPE), as well as representatives of the builder shipyard, Socarenam.
Under the control of the Navy, the crew will carry out the verification of the military characteristics of the patrol boat, with a view to its admission to active service scheduled for the summer.
The six POMs, which will be delivered and admitted to active service by early 2026, will replace the older generation P400 patrol boats based in New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Reunion.
The POMs will allow a significant reinforcement of the means of the French Navy to monitor the French maritime spaces of the Indo-Pacific zone. A POM can perform missions of up to 30 days without refueling, with a crew of 30 sailors and embark up to 29 passengers. Compared to the P400, the POM has significantly improved capabilities with an air/surface surveillance radar, an optronic ball, 2 fast boats, one of which is in the raft, and the carriage of twice as much freight; it also comes with a better range of about 20% more than its predecessor. An innovative ship, it is also the first Navy building to integrate natively, from its design, an on-board aerial drone system. Its stability performance has been adapted to the regularly harsh sailing conditions in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It also has a high-performance hybrid propulsion architecture and hydrographic capability.
The six POMs will be based in Noumea for New Caledonia, Papeete for French Polynesia and Port-des-Galets for Reunion, with two units per home port. In a context of growing threats to fisheries 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: police fisheries, 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 ships in difficulty, rescue of people at sea.
The design and construction of POMs represent several hundred highly skilled jobs for the Socarenam shipyard (Saint-Malo and Boulogne-sur-Mer sites) as well as for its many subcontractors in France.
Main characteristics of POMs: