French Rafales join Crete while UAE fighter jets ‘trap’ the Turks
ATHENS, (BM) – The Turkish provocative moves in the Eastern Mediterranean, most recently in Lebanon with the transfer of weapons, have not escaped the attention of the French secret services, BulgarianMilitary.com reports citing Pentapostagma.
The result of all this, in combination with the “bullying” of the Turks in Greece, Egypt, and Cyprus, was the immediate activation of the French war machine in the central and eastern Mediterranean, whose military leadership duly appreciates the Greek armed forces, and especially the PA that considers it as the most combative force in Europe.
Thus, according to information from the Greek press, new military exercises are being prepared between Greece and France. Exercises that will take place around the same time that the 4 UAE F16 block 60 fighter jets will be in Souda.
To this end, Paris replaced the pair of Rafale fighters it had sent with 3 new ones equipped with anti-ship missiles and Rafale electronic interference systems.
According to information from ANT1, next week air exercises of Greek and French fighters are planned around Crete, while the French fighters will join the French force in Cyprus, which will become almost permanent as it seems. The Turks, as the data show, will be trapped by Greeks, French, UAE, while in the background will come the Egyptians who want to be present in the developments in the region.
The Greek Navy is “looking” for new surface units
According to a foreign defense website, since the beginning of August, Greece is ending the last Roussen-class rocket launcher, about 20 years after the start of the program. The delays in the project are due in part to the economic crisis that has hit the country, forcing Greek Defense Ministry officials to postpone most plans to modernize the Greek navy.
Now the same officials are “running” speed race to modernize an aging fleet, in an increasingly volatile sea area, at a time when Turkey’s naval capabilities are beginning to grow.
So, how will Athens find a way to meet the increasingly urgent demands for the Defense Ministry due to the Turkish provocation?
In the past, Greece worked mainly with European countries to build its naval power. In the 1980s, he bought used Kortenaer class frigates from the Netherlands and bought four German-made MEKO 200 HYDRA class frigates, three of which were built in Greek shipyards.
These frigates are now the backbone of the Greek fleet. In addition, these limited collaborations proved successful as they provided the Greek Navy with well-equipped ships, also allowing Greece to maintain a modest but capable shipbuilding industry, which produced most of its navy’s smallest ships.
However, Greek surface units are now relatively old. European choices could make Greece great at sea again like in ancient times.
Athens is “looking” at the same time at France, an important factor in both the Mediterranean and the shipbuilding industry, and in Germany, the economic leader of Europe and the provider of the Greek navy’s underwater capacity.
So far, Berlin may have been more reluctant than Paris to play a clear role in the Mediterranean, but Turkey’s growing ambitions in Libya, as well as growing tensions over offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, especially outside Cyprus, have change the data, combined with the presence of the French in the area.
These developments have put Turkey in the crosshairs of the European Union. In addition, new regional dynamics are creating new alignments, raising maritime safety concerns and thus adding to the urgent need for a competent naval force in the region,
Turkey, for its part, currently has a naval program that includes 6 new German-designed submarines, new frigate classes (either recently delivered or under construction as part of the MILGEM project) and, most importantly, a home-made one similar to the Spanish Juan Carlos I helicopter / amphibious ship named Anantolou.
Greece had ambitions to acquire the French multi-mission frigate FREMM, however, economic estimates forced these ambitions to decline. Athens is now considering a newer Belhara class, while also considering possible takeovers from the United States as part of its fleet modernization.
The modernization of the average life of the Hydra class frigates is another priority, which aims to extend the life of the ships by about 15 years with new combat systems, sensors and weapons.
Greece’s demand for new surface units can be divided into a mix of larger and smaller naval platforms. On the European front, in the framework of the EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) process for enhanced defense cooperation, Greece has joined forces with France, Italy and Spain in a program to design and develop a Corvette. which could be formed in many variations to meet the specific needs of the country in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
A new partner on the horizon?
To provide an even more timely solution, Greek-based shipbuilding companies Onex Neorion Shipyards and Israel Shipyards announced in June that they were working together to offer a Themistocles-class corvette design based on the design of the Israeli Sa’ar Corvette. 72. This step towards greater defense cooperation between the two countries is only the latest development in the ongoing reform of regional relations.
The Corvette Themistocles will weigh about 800 tons and will be a modest addition to Greece’s requirements for modern units, especially compared to the naval developments in Turkey.
However, such Corvettes with anti-submarine capabilities would be what the Greek Navy requires to patrol the Aegean facing the Turkish submarines for example, while in fact their construction could be done quite quickly.
The acquisition of such corvettes adapted to the special needs of the Greek navy would also underline the growing development of Greece and Israel, and would give new possibilities for the construction of frigates by Greek hands with the transfer of valuable know-how.
Even so, overall, the Greek navy continues to face a significant challenge to make up for the years lost to modernizing its units, he concludes.
It is estimated that the immediate purchase of at least 2 French FREMM Frigates to meet the immediate needs in the Eastern Mediterranean in combination with the construction of Corvettes “Themistoklis” with the transfer of similar technology, would be the best way for our country in the short term, while and European programs would be welcome in the future under better economic conditions.
It is important for our country to face Turkey immediately and at the same time to “build” the future of the Greek Defense Ministry under solid foundations from Greek hands at last.
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