Two days ago (December 10, 2021) the State Department announced its approval for the possible sale of four new Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) frigates to Greece, worth $ 6.9 billion. Furthermore, the upgrade of existing MEKO-class Greek frigates, worth $ 2.5 billion, was also announced in a new development in the Hellenic Navy frigates program, following the announcements regarding the purchase of French frigates in September.
In particular, as announced by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency, the State Department, following the relevant procedures, approved the “possible sale of military equipment to the Greek government, that is, of MMSC vessels and related equipment for an estimated cost of $ 6.9 billion,” responding to Letter of Request (LOR) which was sent by the Greek government months ago. Respectively, in terms of MEKO frigates, it was reported that their possible modernization and that of related equipment were approved for 2.5 billion dollars.
In the case of new frigates, the principal contractor is Lockheed Martin, while in the case of MEKO modernization, the contractors are Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and VSE Corporation.
It is emphasized that, despite the relevant approval, this does not mean that a contract has been signed or that any kind of negotiations has been completed.
Διευκρινίσεις ΥΠΕΘΑ σχετικώς με την πορεία υλοποίησεως του Προγράμματος προμήθειας νέων Φ/Γ για το ΠΝhttps://t.co/CbTSRSP9QU
— Υπουργείο Εθνικής Άμυνας (@Hellenic_MOD) December 11, 2021
A few hours after the announcement of the competent authority “Defense Security Cooperation Agency” with the American proposal for the Greek frigate program, causing for the time being the illusion that everything is still under consideration and Greece will possibly follow the example of Australia to cancel the order, the Ministry of Defence officially announced that: “The decision of the Government to proceed with the acquisition of three French “[email protected]” type frigates has been made irreversibly.”
“All procedures are underway so that the negotiations can be completed soon. In the near future, the Contracts will be brought before the competent bodies of the Parliament for Voting”.
With this announcement, the Ministry of Defence, i.e. the government, puts an end to the reports about the American frigates. Besides, a publication of the French Le Figaro referred to a statement of the French Ministry of Defence to the French News Agency, according to which “we have signed the contract with the Greeks. It was initiated a few days ago”.
According to the manufacturer Lockheed Martin (LM), the Greek version of the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC), Hellenic Future Frigate (HF2), could (if selected) play an important role for the Hellenic Navy.
There are various reasons which, according to LM, can be summarised as follows:
- The HF2 derives from a combat-proven, operational ship. The ship is a variant of the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).
- The HF2 is adjusted to meet Hellenic Navy requirements. The ship’s capability configuration is designed to address customer needs. It can truly be a custom ship for the Hellenic Navy.
- The HF2 could be produced in Greece, which would build Greece’s shipbuilding capabilities and create hundreds of high-quality jobs in the country for decades.
- The MH-60Rs are fully integrated into the HF2 and MEKO-class upgrades and when working together they constitute a powerful combination.
- The ship is highly automated, allowing its crew to focus on the most important tasks.
- The HF2 can operate in missions in both littoral waters or open sea.
- Building the HF2 in Greece will enable the country to become a regional support center of the Hellenic Navy and the naval forces of other countries, creating and sustaining jobs for 40 years.
- The HF2 features cyber-attack protection integrated into the design of its systems.
The upgrade proposal for all 4 MEKO frigates
According to information, the American side seems to be particularly interested in the upgrade program of the MEKO frigates, provided that the purchase of the new French frigates has already been decided and the “sale” approval of MMSC is considered a typical issue. The 2.5 billion-dollar proposal includes:
- Upgrade of eight (8) Phalanx Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWS) to 1B Baseline 2
- Installation of 4 MK49 RAM CIWS
- Reconstruction of four (4) MK 45 mod 2
- Installation of Sylena Decoy Launching and CANTO Anti-Torpedo Systems
- Installation of Narwhal 20A Gun System
- Installation of TRS-4D radar
- Installation of Low-Frequency Active Towed Sonar (LFATS)
- Installation of Compact Active Passive Towed Array Sonar (CAPTAS-2)
- Installation of Link 16 communications equipment
- Installation of COMBATSS-21 Combat Management Systems
- Installation of SQQ-89 ASW System
- Installation of Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Mode 5
- Installation of ELTA electronic warfare (EW) system
With information from: Hellenic Ministry of Defence, Lockheed Martin, State Department, defenceredefined.com.cy
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