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First Félix Éboué-class OPV for French Navy starts sea trials

The French Navy's first new POM, Auguste Bénébig (P 779), departs for its first sea trials on 26 July. ( Socarenam)

The first of six new Félix Éboué-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) on order for the French Navy has started its initial sea trials.

First-of-class Auguste Bénébig (P 779) was put to sea for the first time from Socarenam's facility in Saint-Malo, Brittany on 26 July, the shipbuilder announced on its LinkedIn account.

The six OPVs, also known as the Patrouilleur d'Outre-Mer (POM) class, are being built under a contract awarded to a consortium comprising Socarenam and CNN MCO on 3 December 2019. Construction is taking place at Socarenam's shipyards in Boulogne-sur-Mer in the north of France and Saint-Malo in Brittany.

They are intended to replace the French Navy's ageing P400-class patrol boats for operation in France's overseas territories, with two each to be based in New Caledonia (Nouméa), French Polynesia (Papeete), and La Réunion (Pointe-des-Galets).

Auguste Bénébig started construction in October 2020 and was launched on 15 October 2021. Under current planning, it is expected to be handed over in 2023.

Second-in-class Jean Tranape (P 780) was laid down in 2021 and is scheduled to launch this year. All six are expected to be delivered by 2025.

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