The PAG launching ceremony
The Assumption of Command Ceremony of the last French Navy ship “La Combattante” took place in Saint-Malo, Brittany, the 12th of June, to the delight of the local inhabitants. Indeed, 19 years since the last French Navy Ship was inaugurated in Saint-Malo.
During the ceremony, Jean-Christophe Dherbécourt, the lieutenant (N) recalled the origin of the name “La Combattante”, a ship on board which her grandfather was during the Second World War. Philippe Gobert, President of SOCARENAM, for his part, focused on human aspects during his speech. Indeed, he introduced the apprentices of his shipyards, and invited the workers of Boulogne-sur-Mer to attend the ceremony of the ship they built during several months. The crew of the vessel and the representatives of the city were also present, with the godmother, Marine Barnérias, a young French writer and TV presenter. She highlighted the bravery of seamen; to her, like the vessel they are combatants. MAURIC, as the naval architect and engineer of the ship, was represented by Pascal Lemesle, the president, and François Sebilo, Chief Operations Officer.
Members of a Lebanese delegation led by Counter Admiral Sarkis and Brigadier General Nasr were also at the ceremony as they are already interested by the capability and performances of the PAG concept.
SOCARENAM launched the vessel the 22th of November in Saint-Malo, and since, she was in testing phase. After the Assumption of Command Ceremony, the ship will reach Brest for its operational conditioning and should leave in July for Fort-de-France, her home port.
"La Combattante" is following "La Confiance" and "La Résolue", the two first sister ships of PLG program (Patrouilleurs Légers Guyane) that has been renamed PAG (Patrouilleurs Antilles-Guyane) program. This range of OPV 600 is dedicated to the action of the French State at sea (sovereignty and protection of French interests in the maritime zone), and particularly the fight against illegal trafficking (fisheries, narcotrafics), the protection of people and goods, and the fight against pollution.
After hurricane Irma that devastated some islands in the Caribbean, the French Navy and especially Florence Parly, the Minister of Armies, identified a lack of means in this maritime zone. Since the PLG sister-ships were highly efficient and operable in Guyana, they decided to launch an unexpected 3rd OPV for the Martinique.
This Offshore Patrol Vessel with steel hull and aluminum superstructure, measures 60.8 meters long for a width of 9.6 meters, a low draft of 3.2 m and a displacement of about 700 tons. Able to reach a speed of 21 kts maintaining an excellent seakeeping behavior, this vessel has also an extensive range of 3200 nm @ 12 kts with hybrid electric propulsion. Some improvements of layout have been made on this last unit but the technical characteristics remain the same for the entire PAG range.
By meeting the complex electric and electronic needs, as well as the strict standards of the French Navy, this vessel, like the two first units, can be considered as a real success for MAURIC and SOCARENAM teams.