France to Greece: ‘We give you as a gift ships free of charge’
ATHENS, (BM) – Greece continues to hold an international tender for the production and supply of warships for its fleet. One of the leading bidders is France, and some analysts say it has a good chance of winning.
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The Greek City Times writes that Paris has offered Athens frigates and a destroyer as a gift free of charge. These are the frigates class Cassard Jean Bart (D615) and Latouche-Treéville (D646), Georges Anti-submarine destroyer class Leygues.
However, there is a condition. Athens must choose Paris to produce and deliver the new battle frigates to the Greek navy. According to experts, France’s proposed warships are a “temporary solution,” but they could last for almost a decade. The Greeks plan to receive their new ships in 6-7 years, but this time limit can increase to ten years.
The Greek military inspected the French frigates offered free of charge and was fascinated by their excellent condition.
What do we know about the Cassard Jean Bart class frigate?
This type of frigate is anti-aircraft warships. They are equipped with air defense systems to repel air attacks. This is the primary mission of these ships, which must protect the rest of the fleet from enemy air attacks.
But this type of frigate has another purpose. They are ideal for reconnaissance and rescue missions, as well as for providing convoys and coastal patrols.
The Cassard Jean Bart class frigate can reach a top speed of nearly 30 knots and has 43,200 horsepower. This is thanks to four SEMT Pielstick 18 PA6V 280 BTC diesel engines. They allow this type of warship to have a maximum range of 15,000 km at an average speed of 17 knots.
Lockheed Martin also joined the race
Lockheed Martin joined the bidding for the Greek fleet. Carefully analyzing Greek preferences, the Americans offered a competitive alternative – four MMSC frigates developed for the US Navy. According to the specification, these frigates are led by multimedia ground fighters.
Thus, in November last year, the Greek media reported that the government had turned to this option. Especially after the possibility of Athens becoming a full partner in the American program FFG [X] to construct ten frigates from constellations.
Since then, however, the program has been severely criticized. The United States identified problems and decided to suspend the program until American engineers resolved the complications. It later became clear that the MMSC frigates also did not meet the needs of the Greeks.
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France changed course
France had to do something to keep the door open for the Greeks. Then came the French Minister of Defense’s statement, who said he was ready to arm the frigates cruise missiles [MdCN], eight anti-surface missiles Exocet MM40B3C, 16 anti-aircraft missiles Aster 15/30, torpedo MU 90, 76-millimeter cannon, and 20-millimeter with remote control.
This action woke the Greeks. “We have not turned our backs on France. The issue is open, and our fleet is looking for the best solution so that we have better ships, deterrents ready,” said Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.
His French counterpart accepted the hand, and he was quick to announce that France would soon send a renewed proposal for the Greek navy and “help maintain Greece’s status as a navy” in the region.
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