Pollux is the sistership of the first OPV Castor, also delivered by SOCARENAM shipyard in July 2014. These two were ordered at the beginning of 2013 within the framework of the Ready Duty Ships program (RDS). As twins, they will work for the surveillance of the Belgium ZEE from August 2015. For its arrival from Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pollux was accompanied by its elder brother at Zeebrugge.
Few days after its arrival, Pollux had the privilege to be christened by its godmother, her Majesty Princess Elisabeth from Belgium, on May, 6th 2015. During this inauguration, a lot of prestigious guests were presents. Among them, Their Majesties, the King and the Queen of Belgium, the admiral Michel Hofman, the Major of the component Navy, Carl Decaluwé, the province governor of Western Flanders. M. Steven Vandeput, minister of defense, the general Gerard Van Caelenberge, aide-de-camp of the King, defense leader as well as other high Belgian and foreign civil and military authorities participated to the ceremony.
A part of the future crew was also on board starting to habituate to the ship thanks to the seven weeks training provided by the shipyard. This day, the town of Namur had been chosen as the godmother of Pollux when it will have for first major, the 1st lieutenant Richard Balyu.
As the first Belgian Navy OPV, Pollux is at the top of the technology. Its high tensile steel hull and aluminium superstructure dominate in resistance and longevity full aluminum designs. The hull design is the result of an entire commitment of the Bureau Mauric in the extensive optimization work carried out with CFD numerical simulations, carefully validated by tank testing. Experts will notice on pictures, the very low wash and wake of this ultra-performing fast displacement hull. The propulsion is realized by two MTU 16V 4000 engines, the summit of the technology of the high speed diesel engines today. The fully loaded ship can sail at top speed in excess of 22.5 knots, an outstanding performance for a displacement steel hull! On one engine, she can sail at the incredible 17.5 knots speed. The range is about 2750 NM at economic speed (16kts). Then, the sea keeping is not the weakness point of this ship stabilized by a free surface tank and special hull devices.
The combat system is compound of two identical interventions RIB MST of 7.5m, one launched by the stern ramp and the other one by a davit. A light turret is settled on the front axle with a weapon and a pursuit system provided by FN HERSTAL (Camera/TV/IR/laser). A water cannon with a range of 60m, supplements the device. The system of detection includes optronic sensors and radars located in the mature. The whole system is driven from a large 360° wheelhouse in the middle of the ship.
The accommodation is designed for 30 persons, which share about 15 cabins. There are living areas, with cafeteria, officers’ mess, complete galley and system of distribution of meal. The ship is classified according to the highest standards of the Bureau Veritas for an unlimited navigation in open sea. Thanks to the Bureau Mauric and SOCARENAM shipyard, Belgian Navy becomes rich of a new extremely competitive vessel. All collaborators of the Bureau Mauric and his partners are proud to entrust to the crew the care of the operations of these new florets of Belgian Navy.