Mexican Navy

The Mexican Navy is one of the two independent armed forces of Mexico. The actual naval forces are called the Armada de México. The Secretaría de Marina (SEMAR) (English: Naval Secretariat) includes both the Armada itself and the attached ministerial and civil service. The commander of the Navy is the Secretary of the Navy, who is both a cabinet minister and a career naval officer.

Mexican Navy
Armada de México
ActiveJanuary 19, 1821 (January 19, 1821)
Country Mexico
RoleNaval warfare
Size66,000 (2019)
Part ofSecretariat of The Navy
AnniversariesJune 1, National Navy Day[1]
Admiral José Rafael Ojeda Durán
Naval jack

The Mexican Navy's stated mission is "to use the naval force of the federation for external defense, and to help with internal order".[2] The Navy consists of about 66,000(2019) men and women plus reserves,[3] over 189 ships, and about 130 aircraft.[4][5] The Navy attempts to maintain a constant modernization program in order to upgrade its response capability.

Given Mexico's large area of water (3,149,920 km2 (1,216,190 sq mi)) and extensive coastline (11,122 km (6,911 mi)), the Navy's duties are of great importance. Perhaps its most important on-going missions are the war on drugs and protecting PEMEX's oil wells in Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico. Another important task of the Mexican Navy is to help people in hurricane relief operations and other natural disasters.


The Mexican Navy has its origins in the creation of the Ministry of War in 1821. From that year until 1939 it existed jointly with the Mexican Army in the organic ministry. Since its declaration of independence from Spain in September 1810, through the mid decades of the 19th century, Mexico found itself in a constant state of war, mostly against Spain which had not recognized its independence. Therefore, its priority was to purchase its first fleet from the U.S. in order to displace the last remaining Spanish forces from its coasts.[6]

The Mexican Navy has participated in many naval battles to protect and defend Mexico's interests. Some of the most important battles were:

Attempts by Spain to reconquer Mexico

The first French intervention in Mexico (The 'Pastry War') (November 1838 – March 1839)

  • An entire Armada was captured at Veracruz
Texan Independence (1836–1845)
Yucatán Independence (1841–1848)
The Mexican–American War (1846–1848)
The Second French Intervention (1862–1867)
The Mexican Revolution (1910–1919)

Second invasion by the United States (April 9, 1914 – November 23, 1914)

Historical ships


The President of Mexico is commander in chief of all military forces. Day-to-day control of the Navy lies with the Navy Secretary, José Rafael Ojeda Durán.[7] In Mexico there is no joint force command structure with the army, so the Secretary reports directly to the President. The Navy has a General Headquarters and three naval forces. There are furthermore eight regions (four on the Pacific coast, three on the Mexican Gulf coast and the Región Naval Central, grouping the naval forces, based in and around the capital Mexico City, such as the 7th Naval Infantry Brigade, the Central Special Operations Group and the Air Transport Squadron), thirteen zones, and fourteen naval sectors.

The Navy is divided into three main services designated as "forces":

Other notable services include:

Officers are trained at the Mexican Naval Academy, called the "Heroica Escuela Naval Militar" ("Heroic Military Naval School"), located in Antón Lizardo, Veracruz.

The Mexican Naval Infantry Corps was reorganized in 2007–2009 into 30 Naval Infantry Battalions (Batallones de Infantería de Marina – BIM), a paratroop battalion, a battalion attached to the Presidential Guard Brigade, two Fast Reaction Forces with six battalions each, and three Special Forces groups.[8] The Naval Infantry are responsible for port security, protection of the ten-kilometer coastal fringe, and patrolling major waterways.

The Naval Infantry also is responsible for 23 National Service Training Units under the responsibility of the Navy Secretary, enforcing the National Service obligation for Mexicans of teenage and young adult age.

Search and rescue units

In 2008, the Mexican Navy created its new search and rescue system, allocated in strategic ports at Pacific and Gulf of Mexico ports, to provide assistance to any ships which are in jeopardy or at risk due to mechanical failure, weather conditions or life risk to the crew. To provide such support, the Navy has ordered Coast Guard Defender class ships (two per station, and one 47-Foot Motor Lifeboat coast guard vessel). Other stations will be provided only with Defender-class boats.[9]

Maritime role

On April 1, 2014 SEMAR officially announced the creation of Port Protection Naval Units (Unidades Navales de Protección Portuaria: UNAPROP) which will include a marine section.[10][11] The main task of UNAPROPs is to ensure maritime surveillance and inspection.[12]

Training and education

The Navy offers several options for graduate studies in their educational institutions:

Heroica Escuela Naval Militar

It is the school where future officers are trained for the General Corps of the Navy. Candidates can enter upon completing high school. Upon completion of studies, graduates obtain the degree of Corbeta Lieutenant and the title of Naval Science Engineer.

Naval Medical School

This school Located in Mexico City, offers a career in medicine. Officers are trained with skills for the prevention and health care of naval personnel. By adopting a professional examination, graduates can obtain the degree of Naval Military Lieutenant Corvette.

Naval Engineering School

In the Naval Engineering School, officers are responsible for the preventive and corrective maintenance of systems and electronic equipment installed on ships and installations of the Mexican Navy. This school offers career of Electronic Engineering and Naval Communications. It is located between the town of Mata Grape and Anton Lizardo, 32 km (20 mi) from the port of Veracruz.

Naval Nursing School

Here the time to achieve a nursing degree lasts eight semesters. Officers are trained with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable them to assist medical personnel in caring for patients in hospitals, sanatoriums, clinics, health sections on land, aboard ships and at The Naval Medical Center.

Naval Aviation School

The Naval Aviation School trains pilots for the Mexican Naval Aviation as well as staff from the Federal Preventive Police and Naval personnel from various countries of Central America. This school is located on La Paz, Baja California Sur.[13]

Search, Rescue and Diving School

Located in Acapulco, members of The Navy are trained for marine search, rescue and diving. It also trains state police officers and firefighters.

Rank insignia

Modernization and budget

The annual Navy's budget is in a one to three proportion of the national budget relative to the Mexican Army and Mexican Air Force. The Navy has a reputation for being well-run and well-organized. This reputation allows for a close relationship with the United States Navy (USN), as evidenced by the procurement of numerous former USN ships.


The Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Francisco Saynez Mendoza, announced on October 1, 2007, detailed plans to upgrade and modernize the country's naval capabilities. On the following day, La Jornada newspaper from Mexico City, disclosed the Mexican Navy plans, which are among others, to build six offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) with a length of 86 metres (282 ft), 1,680 tons and each housing a Eurocopter Panther helicopter as well as small high-speed interception boats. The budget for this project is above US$200 million.

Another project is to build 12 CB 90 HMN high speed (50 knots (93 km/h; 58 mph)) interception boats under license from a Swedish boat company Dockstavarvet to the Mexican Navy. Also, a number of fully equipped planes for surveillance and maritime patrol are being considered. Combinations of options and development are being defined.


The Mexican Navy depends upon their naval shipyards for construction and repairs of their ships. There are five shipyards located in the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean:


The Mexican Navy initiated studies to develop and construct its first missile, according to a May 2005 interview with the undersecretary of the Navy, Armando Sanchez, the missile was to have an average range of 12 to 15 kilometres (7.5 to 9.3 mi) and be able to target enemy ships and aircraft. The undersecretary added that they already had the solid propellant, and the basic design of the missile. All aspects relative to their fuselage were solved as well as the launch platforms. The Mexican Navy was developing the software to direct the missile to its target. In July 2008, the project was reported to be 80% complete. Despite this effort, the missile development was canceled in 2009 due to "problems with the propulsion system".[14]

Radar modernization

In 2009, the Mexican Navy began operating a batch of new MPQ-64 Sentinel radars in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico. The radar network was installed in 2007 for a trial phase while military personnel were trained to get familiar with the system. The new installations will work together with combat surface vessels that patrol the area.[15][16]

Present fleet

Class Image Type Ships Origin
Frigates (5)
Allende classMultipurpose Anti-submarine frigateF211 Ignacio Allende
F212 Mariano Abasolo
F213 Guadalupe Victoria
F214 Francisco Javier Mina
 United States – ex-US Navy Knox-class frigate
Reformador class[17]Multipurpose FrigateF101 Reformador[18] Netherlands/ Mexico - Ships being built in The Netherlands and Mexico. At least 8 ships planned for fleet modernisation plan.
Missile boats (2)
Huracán classMissile boatA301 Huracán
A302 Tormenta
 Israel – ex-Israeli Navy Sa'ar 4.5-class missile boat
Patrol vessel and other Warships (35)
Oaxaca classOcean patrol vesselsP161 Oaxaca
P162 Baja California
P163 Independencia
P164 Revolución
P165 Chiapas[19]
P166 Hidalgo[19]
P167 Jalisco[20]
P168 Tabasco
Durango classCompact Frigate / Patrol veseelP151 Durango
P152 Sonora
P153 Guanajuato
P154 Veracruz
Sierra classCorvetteP141 Sierra
P143 Prieto
P144 Romero
Holzinger classOcean/Offshore patrol vesselsP131 Holzinger
P132 Godínez
P133 De la Vega
P134 Berriozabal
Uribe classOcean patrol vessels
P122 Azueta
P123 Baranda
P124 Bretón
P125 Blanco
P126 Monasterio
Valle classConverted Minesweeper / Ocean patrol vesselsP102 Juan de la Barrera
P103 Mariano Escobedo
P104 Manuel Doblado
P106 Santos Degollado
P108 Juan N. Álvarez
P109 Manuel Gutiérrez Zamora
P110 Valentín Gómez Farías
P112 Francisco Zarco
P113 Ignacio L. Vallarta
P114 Jesús González Ortega
P117 Mariano Matamoros
 United States – ex-Auk-class minesweeper
Coastal patrol ships (44)
Tenochtitlan class[21][22]Coastal patrolPC331 Tenochtitlan
PC332 Teotihuacan
PC333 ARM Palenque
PC334 ARM Mitla
PC335 ARM Uxmal
PC336 ARM Tajin[23]
PC337 ARM Tulum[24]
PC338 ARM Monte Albán[25]
PC339 ARM Bonampak[26]
PC340 Chichen Iztzá
 Netherlands/ Mexico Based on Damen Stan Patrol 4207
Azteca classCoastal patrolPC202 Cordova
PC206 Rayón
PC207 Rejón
PC208 De la Fuente
PC209 Guzmán
PC210 Ramírez
PC211 Mariscal
PC212 Jara
PC214 Colima
PC215 Lizardi
PC216 Mugica
PC218 Velazco
PC220 Macías
PC223 Tamaulipas
PC224 Yucatán
PC225 Tabasco
PC226 Cochimie
PC228 Puebla
PC230 Vicario
PC231 Ortíz
 United Kingdom
Demócrata classCoastal patrolPC241 Demócrata
PC242 Francisco I. Madero
Cabo classCoastal patrolPC271 Corriente
PC272 Corso
PC273 Catoche
Punta classCoastal patrolPC-281 Morro
PC-282 Mastún
Polaris classSmall Patrol vessel44 In service Sweden
Polaris II classSmall Patrol vessel6 In service + 17 under construction Mexico
Acuario A/B classPatrolIn service Mexico
Isla classPatrolIn service Mexico
Amphibious ships (3)
Papaloapan classTank landing shipA411 Papaloapan
A412 Usumacinta
 United States – ex-USN Newport-class tank landing ship
Panuco classTank landing shipA402 Manzanillo United States - ex-US Navy USS Clearwater County, transferred in 1972
Logistic support vessel (2)
Montes Azules classLanding shipBAL01 Montes Azules
BAL02 Libertador (construction completed, inaugurated on September 10, 2012)[27]
TBD classSupply shipBAL11 Isla Madre Launched July 11, 2016.[25] Netherlands Based on Damen Stan 5009 Fast Crew Supplier
Mine counter-measure (6)
Banderas classMinesweeperBanderas
 United States
Auxiliary vessels
Huasteco classMultipurpose logistics vesselAMP01 Huasteco
AMP02 Zapoteco
Maya classMultipurposeATR01 Maya
ATR02 Tarasco
Cuauhtemoc classSteel-hill Sail Training shipBE01 Cuauhtémoc Spain

The Mexican Navy includes 60 smaller patrol boats and 32 auxiliary ships. It acquired 40 fast military assault crafts, designated CB 90 HMN, between 1999 and 2001 and obtained a production license in 2002, enabling further units to be manufactured in Mexico.

Modern equipment

Mexican Naval Infantry Inventory
Vehicle/System Type Versions
Armoured Vehicles
BTR-60/BTR-70Amphibious Armored Personnel CarrierAPC-70
Carat Security GroupArmored Car (Military)Wolverine (Escorpion)
Renault Sherpa 2 Light Armored Vehicle MACK Sherpa Scout
Land RoverArmored Car (Military)Defender 4x4
Infantry Transport Vehicles
Ford-150[28]Light Utility Vehicle4x4 F-150 series pick up
Ford-250[28]Light Utility Vehicle4x4 F-250 series pick up
Dodge Ram[29]Light Utility Vehicle4x4 Pick up
Mercedes-Benz[30][31]Light Utility Vehicle4x4 G-class
Ural-4320[32]Utility VehicleOff-road 6x6 truck
UNIMOG U-4000[33][34]Utility Vehicle4x4 truck
Gama GoatAmphibious 6-wheeled vehicle6x6 truck
Freightliner M2[35]Utility Vehicle4x2 truck

Individual weapons and equipment

Mexican Naval Inventory
Name Versions Type
M16A2 rifle5.56×45mm NATOAssault rifle
M4 Carbine5.56×45mm NATOAssault rifle
IMI Galil5.56×45mm NATOAssault rifle
Heckler & Koch MP59×19mmSubmachine gun
Heckler & Koch UMP.45 ACPSubmachine gun
FN P905.7×28mmSubmachine gun
Colt M1911.45 ACPPistol
Beretta9x19mm ParabellumPistol
Glock 179x19mm ParabellumPistol
Heckler & Koch MSG907.62×51mm NATOSniper rifle
Barrett M82.50 BMGSniper rifle
Remington 7007.62×51mm NATOSniper rifle
FN Minimi5.56×45mm NATOMachine gun
CETME Ameli[36]5.56×45mm NATOMachine gun
GAU-1912.7×99mm NATOHeavy machine gun
M2 Browning machine gun12.7×99mm NATOHeavy machine gun
M1347.62×51mm NATOGatling-type machine gun
STK 40 AGL40mmGrenade machine gun
Milkor MGL40mmGrenade launcher
M203 grenade launcher40mmGrenade launcher
Remington 110012Shotgun


Mexican Naval Inventory
Name Versions Type
Self-propelled artillery
Bofors L7040mmAnti-aircraft artillery
Oerlikon20mmAnti-aircraft artillery
Shipboard anti-aircraft artillery
Phalanx CIWS20mmClose In Weapon System
Multiple rocket launchers
FIROS122mmMultiple Launch Rocket System
Towed artillery
OTO Melara Mod 56105mmTowed howitzer
K6120mmHeavy mortar
M2981mmMedium mortar
Brandt LR60mmLight mortar
Bofors L7040mmTowed anti-aircraft artillery
Bofors L6040mmTowed anti-aircraft artillery
Oerlikon20mmTowed anti-aircraft artillery
Anti-shipping missiles
GabrielMk. IIAnti-shipping missile
RGM-84L HarpoonBlock IIAnti-shipping missile
Anti-aircraft missiles
SA-1872.2mmAnti-aircraft missile
RIM-116[37]RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM)Anti-aircraft missile
RIM-162[38]RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM)Anti-aircraft missile
Light anti-tank weapons
RPG-75Anti-tank weapon68mm
B300Anti-tank weapon82mm

Aircraft inventory


Aircraft Type Versions In service Image
Combat aircraft
Valmet L-90Combat/Counter InsurgencyL-90TP8
Zlin Z-242TrainingZ-242L8[41]
Maule M-7TrainingMX-7-180A8
Beechcraft T-6 Texan IITrainingT-6C+2 [42][43]
CASA C-295[44][45][46]Tactical transportC295M6
Bombardier Dash 8Tactical transportDH-81
Turbo CommanderTransport980 Turbo4
LearjetVIP transportLJ251
LearjetVIP transportLJ312
LearjetVIP transportLJ601
Gulfstream IVVIP transportG4501
Reconnaissance and intelligence
CASA C-212SurveillanceC-212-4003[47]
CASA CN-235SurveillanceCN-235MP 3006
Super ES
Legacy 2000
King Air 350SurveillanceKing Air 350ER4[43][48][49]
Eurocopter FennecSearch & rescueAS555AF2
Eurocopter PantherCombatAS656MB / MBe14
Eurocopter EC 725TransportEC7253
Bölkow Bo 105SurveillanceEC-Super Five11
MD Helicopters MD 500TrainingMD-5004
Mil Mi-2TransportMi-2 Hopite1
Mil Mi-17TransportMi-17IV/V521
MD Helicopters MD ExplorerCombatMD-9026
Sikorsky UH-60 BlackhawkTransport and combatUH-60M10 [50][51]
UAV SEMARReconnaissance/IntelligenceT1 / T2 / T33
Future acquisitions
EADS CASAsurveillanceCASA CN-2352[50][52][53][54]
Sikorsky SH-60 SeahawkUtility maritime helicopterMH-60R8 [55]


For the year 2008 budget, the Mexican Congress approved a US$15 million fund to build only 17 out of the 60 combat boats requested. These ships, designated CB 90 HMN, are to increase the Mexican Navy's fast boat fleet. Additional budgets will be awarded each passing year.[56] In total, the Mexican Navy has over 189 operational ships.[4]

In January 2013, the 112th Session of US Congress authorized the transfer of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates USS Curts and USS McClusky to the Mexican Navy,[57] but due to the cost of overhauling the vessels and the removal of all the weapons systems and most of the electronics and radar gear by the USN prior to transfer, this is still undecided by Mexico. The offer expired on 1 January 2016.[57]


On March 25, 2014 Beechcraft Corporation received an order of 2 T-6C+ military trainers from the Mexican Navy.[58]

On June 24, 2014 the Mexican Government requested the purchase of 5 UH-60Ms in USG configuration from the U.S.; its estimated cost is $225 million.[59] Also on June 24, BAE Systems announced it was awarded a contract by the Mexican Government to supply the navy with 4 Mk 3 57mm naval guns, for the ships of the Reformador class.[60]

See also


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