Greece has ordered French frigates for nearly €4 billion
ATHENS, ($1=0.86 Euros) – On September 28, 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis signed an agreement on “establishing a strategic partnership”, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing the portal Naval Post. The French Naval Group also offered the Greek Navy to buy three Gowind-2500 corvettes to replace the old frigates of the MEKO 200 project. But Athens no longer agreed to such an “option” from Paris.
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Officially – the parties do not disclose the cost of the agreement for the supply of frigates and the term of the construction of ships. But it is worth recalling that France and Greece have been negotiating the supply of FDI ships, also known as Belharra, since January 2021. Even then, the possible cost of the contract was 4 billion euros: the construction of hulls – 2.5 billion euros, the supply of weapons and other equipment for ships – another 1.5 billion euros.
It is also known that the French Naval Group is currently building five frigates of the FDI project in two series, and these ships are to be commissioned by the French Navy in 2023-2025.
There were rumors that in addition to the FDI frigates, Athens could also order the delivery of three Gowind-2500 corvettes. But it seems that at the last moment the Greek authorities changed their minds to buy French-made corvettes.
It is assumed that the frigates of the FDI project, also known as Belhara, will have the following TTX:
- displacement – 4500 tons;
- body length – 122 meters;
- speed – 27 knots;
- crew – 125 people;
- range – 5000 miles at a speed of 15 knots, autonomy – 45 days;
- a set of weapons – one artillery caliber 76-mm, two artillery caliber 20-mm, eight launchers for anti-ship missiles Exocet MM40 Block 3C, 16 installations for the vertical launch of anti-aircraft missiles Aster 15/30, four 324-mm torpedoes, NH90 helicopter Cayman and unmanned aerial vehicle.
France changed the 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.
The United States tried
Lockheed Martin joined the bidding for the Greek fleet. Carefully analyzing Greek preferences, the Americans offered a competitive alternative – four MMSC-type frigates developed for the US Navy. According to the specification, these frigates guide by multimedia ground fighters.
Thus, in November last year, the Greek media announced that the government had turned to this option. Especially after Athens’s possibility of becoming a full partner in the US FFG [X] program to build ten constellation frigates.
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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