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On 6 February, the Mexican Navy commissioned the ARM REFORMADOR frigate, classified locally as a Long-Range Ocean Patrol Vessel (POLA).

Based on the Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach (SIGMA) 10514 design from Damen, REFORMADOR will become part of the Pacific Naval Force and will conduct a variety o0f missions, including long-range search and rescue, humanitarian relief, multinational and peacekeeping operations, in addition to intelligence work and counter-narcotics duties in the Pacific Ocean. It should be noted that the POLA is considered to be the most modern vessel in the Mexican and, indeed, the Latin American fleets.

REFORMADOR’s combat management system is a Thales Tacticos installation, she has Raytheon Anschütz SYNAPSIS and Thales SMART radars, Indra provides the RIGEL electronic countermeasure system, Navantia has installed the HERMESYS integral communications control system and the sonar is a Thales CAPTAS. Weapons systems consist of Raytheon Mk 31 anti-aircraft systems with 21 RIM-116 RAM Block II missiles, two triple Mk.54 Mod 0 torpedo launchers from the same manufacturer, a 57mm Mk 3 BAE Systems Bofors gun, a 25mm BUSHMASTER Mk 38 Mod 2 gun of 25mm, two twin RGM-84L HARPOON Block II launchers plus four mounts for 12.7mm machine guns. The new vessel also boasts a platform to deploy interceptor boats from the stern and a flight deck and hangar for a medium helicopter.

Launched on 23 November 23, 2018 ARM REFORMADOR started sea trials in December 2019. She was constructed in six large modules, two of them manufactured in the Netherlands (propulsion and weapons/bridge system) and the rest in Mexico (bow, stern, stern superstructure and centre superstructure). The Mexican Navy plans to put eight of these vessels into service over the next 20 years, making this the most complex shipbuilding project the force has and the biggest in Latin American navies today. She has a length of 107.5m, a beam of 14.02m and a draft of 3.9m, reaches a maximum speed of 27 knots, with a cruising speed of 16. Displacement is of 2,570t and the vessel has a range of more than five thousand nautical miles and an endurance of over 21 days. Its complement is 122 strong and current plans are that 40% will be female.

It is important to highlight the fact that the Pacific is heavily used by criminal organizations that use speedboats, submersibles and small aircraft in Mexican waters to transport drugs from Colombia, Peru and Ecuador.

Santiago Rivas and Florencia Lucero Heguy in Buenos Aires for MON

The modular design of the REFORMADOR may give the Navy the flexibility for alternative weapons and systems fits as successive vessels come into service. (Image via the authors)

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