Dec 10, 2010

Future of the Mexican Navy

Think up to EEZ and OPV, but no more...

Coastlines: 9330 Km (6,338 km on the Pacific Ocean, 2,805 kilometers on the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Sea).
Mexico's EEZ covers +/- 2.7 million square kilometers, of witch 6,000 square kilometers of islands in the Pacific Ocean/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Sea/Gulf of California.

Personnal Strenght (max): +/- 46/56 000
Sailors: +/- 30/40 000; Naval Aviation: 1250; Mexican Marines: 12 600.

Destroyers/Frigates (a great joke !)
1 Netzahualcoyotl:
(Netzahualcoyotl), ex US Gearing class destroyers built by 1944/1945 ! Transferred by 1982, totally obsolete since late 1970’s (and this although heavily modernized !) and was virtually a floating naval museum !!! Current status unclear, likely not to be replaced and maybe ? returned to the US navy as a naval museum ship or scrapped ?…

2 Hermenegildo- Galeana:
(Nicolas-Bravo, Hermenegildo-Galeana), 2300/2900 tons, 113 meters, ex US Bronstein FFG of early 1960’s, Transferred by 1993 but totally obsolete since early 1990’s…currently mainly used for training. Likely to be partially replaced by few “second-hands” O.H.Perry FFG through the 2010’s.

4 Ignacio-Allende:
(Ignacio-Allende, Mariano-Abasolo, Guadalupe-Victoria, Amiral Francesco Javier-Mina), 4000+ tons, 134 meters, ex US Knox FFG of early 1970’s. Transferred by 1997/2002 but totally obsolete since late 1990’s…currently mainly used as a gunboats-ocean patrol vessels. Likely to be partially replaced by few O.H.Perry FFG through 2010’s

Up to 6 O.H.Perry FFG ?:
It is clear that with the expected withdrawal of all (30) US O.H. Perry FFG frigates in the U.S. Navy during 2011-2018's. The Mexican Navy is expected to receive ? 4 to 6 ageing “second-hands” O.H Perry Frigates around 2015/2020, to replace obsoletes 1940/1960’s ex US ships……

+/- 22 (+11) Ocean/Off­-shore Patrol boats (the real workhorse of the Oceanic Mexican fleet !!!):
Up to 4 newer Mexican OPV ?:
With the current “mexican policy” about OPV, it is very probable that up to 4 newer OPV (improved “Oaxaca") were built by late 2010’s to replace the most older OPV’s.

4 Oaxaca:
(Oaxaca, Baja-California, Independencia, Revolucion). 1600+ tons, 86 meters, enlarged version of Durango class. Commissioned by 2003/2010. With probable +/- 30 year of service expected, to be retired by 2033/2040. Maybe ? 2 others planned by 2015

4 Durango:
(Durango, Sonora, Guanajuato, Veracruz), 1100/1300+ tons, 74 meters. Improved from Holzinger class, commissioned by 2000/2001, likely to be retired around 2030.

4 Sierra (Holzinger 2000) class:
(Justo-Sierra-Mendez, Benito-Juarez, Guillermo-Prieto, Matias-Romero), 1100/1300+ tons, 74 meters. Improved from Agula/Holzinger class, Commissioned by 1999, likely to be retired around 2030.

4 Aguila (Holzinger):
(Sebastian-Jose-Holzinger, Blas-Godinez, José-Maria-De la Vega, Felipe-Berriozabal), 1000+ tons, 74 meters improved from Uribe class, commissioned by 1991/1994, with probable +/- 30 year of service expected, to be retired by 2021/2024.

6 Halcon/Uribe:
(Virgilo-Uribe, Jose-Azueta, Pedro-Sainz de Barbanda, Carlos- Castillo-Breton, Othon-Blanco, Angel-Ortiz-Monasterio), 980+ tons, 67 meters. commissioned by 1982/1983. Initially with probable +/- 30 year of service expected, but now likely life extended to remain in service until late 2010’s.

11 Valle:
(Juan de la Barrera, Mariano Escobedo, Manuel Doblado, Santos Degollado, Juan N Alvarez, Manuel Gutierrez Zamora, Valentin Gomez Farias, Ignacio L Vallarta, Jesus Gonsalez Ortega, Mariano Matamoros). 850+ tons, 67 meters, Ex US minesweepers from 1942-1945 !!! (Auk class) transferred by 1972/1973. Obsolete since early 1980’s and now totally worn out (some may be unserviceable). All likely to be retired throught the 2010"s.

2 Fast attack missile crafts
2 Huracan:
(Huracan, Tormenta). 500 tons, 61 meters. Ex Israeli Sa-ar’ 4.5 (late 1970’s built). Transferred by 2004. Likely with +/- 20 year of Mexican service, to be retired around mid 2020’s.

+/- 27 Mid-Shore Patrol Boats:
20 Azteca:
(Cordova, Rayon, Rejon, De la Fuente, Guzman, Ramirez, Mariscal, Jara, Colima, Lizardi, Mugica, Velazco, Macias, Tamaulipas, Yucatan, Tabasco, Cochimie, Puebla, Vicario, Ortiz). Some others already retired. 115/160 tons, 36 meters, very lightly constructed. Commissioned by 1974/1982, with probable +/- 25 years of service (usually much more in Mexican service), likely to remain in service until late at least late 2010’s.

2 Democrata:
(Democrata, Francisco I Madero). 400+ tons, 52 meters. Commissioned by 1998/2007. Partially intended to replace few obsolete Valle (ex US Auk) minesweepers/patrol-ships.

3 Cabo:
(Corrientes, Corzo, Catoche). 87 tons, 29 meters (ex us cape Higgon class patrol boats). Transferred by 1990/1991, with probable 25+ year of service (usually much more in mexican service). Likely to be retired by early 2020’s.

2 Punta:
(Punta Morro, Punta Mastun). 64 tons, 25+ meters (ex US coast-guard Point class, built early 1960’s). Transferred by 1991, maybe retired throught 2020's ?.

+/- 152 Inshore Patrol Vessels/Patrol crafts
+/- 8 Acuario:
Improved & "mexicanised" version of the CB-90HMN, 19 tons, 16 meters. Commissioned from 2004. Maybe others planned ?

+/- 44 Stridsbat CB 90 HMN:
13/20 tons, 15+ meters. Highly versatile small craft. The Mexican Navy obtained a production license in 2002 to build more (improved) crafts in Mexico, commissioned by 2000/2004.

+/- 40 Interceptor class (35foot):
10+ meters. Locally designed/built. Commissioned from 1998+…

52 tons, 25 meters. Commissioned by 1993/1994.

+/- 36 Piranha riverine crafts:
1,6 tons, 6+ meters.

13 Olmeca:
18 tons, 16+ meters. US 1980’s built, all crafts transferred by 1993.

3 Polimar:
57 tons, 20 meters. Built by 1953/1968.

2 Lago riverine crafts:
37 tons, 17+ meters. Built by 1959/1961.

2 L-Type (64foot):
72 tons, 19+ meters. Ex-US (built 1950’s), transferred by 1989/1990.

+/- 6 Oceanographic research ships:
1 Onjuku:
(Onjuku), 500 tons, 36 meters. Ex-Trawler acquired in 1987.

1 Alejandro de Humboldt:
(Alejandro de Humboldt), 580+ tons, 42+ meters. Former german trawler acquired in 1982 end recommissioned by 1987.

1 Rio Ondo:
(Rio Ondo), 400 tons, 36 meters. Ex-US ship tug/supply vessel built in 1950’s. Acquired by 1995.

1 Altair:
(Altair), 1200 tons, 63 meters. Ex-US ship, recommissioned by 1984.

1 Rio-Suchiate:
(Rio-Suchiate), 1100+ tons, 58 meters. Ex-US water lighter ship (1943 built).

1 Antares:
(Antares), 1200 tons, 63 meters. EX-US ship, transferred by 1992.

+/- 3 Cargo-ships:
1 Maya
(Maya) , 900+ tons, 48 meters. Former lighthouse supply vessel acquired by 1988.

2 Huasteco:
1800+ tons, 72 meters. Specially built ship commissioned by 1986.

+/- 3 medium/large Amphibious:
2 Papaloapan:
(Papaloapan, Usumacinta). Ex US Newport class LST (late 1960’s builts), transferred by 2001. Likely to remain in Mexican service until mid/late 2020’s.

1 Vincente Guerrero:
(Vicente Guerrero). Ex US 1945 built LST, transferred by 1973.

6+ Fleets tugs:
6 ocean tugs:
No data available.

4 olders ex us fleet tugs:
(US 1943/1944 built), in uncertain status.

1 Sailing ships
(Cuauhtemoc), 1200 tons, 90 meters, built 1982.
Status of a ageing training ship (ex us 1940’s mineweesper) was unclear.

Others small & various crafts:
- +/- 108 RHIB.
- Various floating cranes, floating dry dock, barges & so…

Mexican Army:
+/- 144 riverine crafts (25 sport-class):
7+ meters.

Mexican Coast Guards (+/- 50)
A handfull of small crafts.

Mexican Naval Infantry : 12 600 troops.
- Guns: 16 M-56 (105mm towed); 6 Firos-25 (122mm multi-rockets launchers); 100 mortars (60/81mm); Some 106mm recoiless guns (M-40A1).
- Armored vehicles: 25 Pegaso VAP-3550
- Amphibious vehicles: 29 APC-60/70.
- Others: - +/- 400 Commando (F.Nal/M-35/Ural), 81 Jeep.

Naval Aviation (a very unusual large fleet, estimation)
+/- 73 Aircrafts:
- 18 RECO: (8 Casa 212-200M Aviocar; 3 E-2C Hawkeye; 7 Lancair IV-P).
- 24 TRANSPORTS: (6 AN-32B Cline; 1 DHC-8 Dash 8; 2 Rockwell sabreliner 306; 3 Learjet 24; 5 Rockwell Turbo Commander 1000; 2 Beech 90 King Air; 1 Cessna 404 Titan; 4 Beech 55 Baron).
- 31 TRAINING: (4 Beech F-33 Bonanza; 8 Z-242L; 7 L-90 Redigo; 12 MX-7 Star Rocket).

+/- 54 Helicopters:
- 2 ASW (2AS-565 MB Panther).
- 7 RECO (7 MD-902 Explorer.
- 24 TRANSPORTS (3 PZL Mi-2 Hoplite; 21 Mi-17 Hip H/Mi-8 Hip).
- 21 VARIOUS: (2/3 AS-555 Fennec; 11 Bo-105; 4 MD-500E; 2 R-22 Mariner; 1 R-44).

In resume:
The Mexican Navy has no fear of serious threats from small coastal Belize/Guatemala/Cuba navies. At the same time, obviously, it can never compete with the U.S. Navy. In fact, it is clear that the main threats to the Mexican Navy are internal weaknesses of Mexico :
- Very strong internal corruption.
- Very strong influence of drug cartels.
- Very strong internal violence/high-crime.
- Low-threat from Internal-civilians/foreign ships (trawlers plundering the fish stocks…).
- Internal threat from some separatism.
- Pollution.

These threats can be fight only with "less impressive" means :
- Intelligence (always, as usual).
- Internal fight against bureaucracy/internal corruption.
It also seems clear that the Mexican Naval Aviation suffers from this bureaucratic corruption (just see how many different models of planes and helicopters in service...)
- Use of Ocean PatrolVessel, Mid-Shore Patrol Vessel, Inshore-Patrol-Vessel.
- Use of Maritime Patrol Aircraft/Helicopters and UAV’s.

As usual, It may be that in my opinion, I forgot programs ? (or made few mistakes ?), then said it ! Feel free to comment and give your opinion !

Next Fleet-Review/Edito :
Future of the Russian Navy (Part-1): combattants ships
Wait & please to be patient with the next Fleet-Review posting….


  1. It looks like the Mexican Marines have become the Federal governments most reliable weapon against the drug cartels.

  2. Quite possible, some units coming away from the bureaucracy (and influence) state corruption...

  3. its seems taht your comments about the mexiacan navy are in your opinión the worst of course we are not a country that is getting in trouble all the time like the united states with the excuse that you are the freedom fighters of the world!!!of course in every country that you "defend" has a Price like oil just like the desert storm war right? anyway Im not trying to be a patriot but at least we dont have countries taht try to attack us all the time and about corruption there are everywhere even in united states come on!!!