France’s Naval Group is likely to bag a contract valued approximately €5 billion to provide FDI (Belharra) frigates and Gowind corvettes to the Hellenic Navy.
The deal will reportedly include delivery of three each of FDI and Gowind warships with an option for one more. A formal announcement will be made on Tuesday, French newspaper LA Tribune reports.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to stop in Paris this afternoon, on his way back from the UN general assembly held in New York last week.
Contacted by Naval News this morning, a source with knowledge of the matter explained that the visit of Mitsotakis is not “last minute” but instead, was a long planned one: The Greek Prime Minister is set to inaugurate a new exposition on Greece at the Louvres Museum this afternoon. That being said, there may be a meeting between Greek and French authorities regarding the frigate deal, on the verge of this official visit, and an announcement (but not an official signature) may be made at the end of this meeting.
In May, Naval Group submitted as part of the French Team with MBDA and Thales an offer for the modernisation of the surface fleet of the Hellenic Navy. The proposal included 4 FDI HN - 3 built in Greece and the 1st in service by 2025 along with a Gap filler solution of 2 frigates available in early 2022; and modernisation of the MEKO frigates in Greece.
The build plan for FDI-HN supposedly proposed by Naval Group would be for the three frigates to be built in France with delivery of the first two by 2025 and the third in 2026. One remains in option and could be built by Greek shipyards. With these extreme delivery rates the French avoid the issue of the interim solution, where they did not have a convincing offer.
The 4500-ton ship will be equipped with Thales Sea Fire AESA radar; Kingklip Mk.2 hull mounted sonar and a CAPTAS 4C variable depth sonar, both also from Thales. It would be armed with 32 Sylver A50 cells for Aster 30 SAMs, a RAM CIWS, eight Exocets SSMs in their latest upgrade, two twin launchers for MU90 torpedoes, one 76mn gun and finally, two remotely controlled autocannons. It however lacks ECM and decoy launcher due to initial limitation in the French budget and an estimate of €100 million will be needed in the future to equip them with such vital systems.
The 2400-ton Gowind 2500 corvette is a newcomer for the Greek contract. This is a mature design also built by Naval Group in their joint venture Kership with the French shipyard Piriou. The corvette has already been chosen by four navies, Egypt, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Romania, for a total of 16 ships ordered.
This corvette is built for anti-submarine and anti-ships missions while also able to defend itself from aerial threats. For this, it is fitted with the Thales 3D SMART-S mk2 radar as well as the Kingklip Mk.2 hull mounted sonar and a CAPTAS VDS sonar, also from Thales.
It is armed with a 16 VL-MICA NG in the Greek case, and similarly to the FDI-HN, eight Exocets SSMs, two twin launchers for MU90 torpedoes, one 76mn gun and two remotely controlled autocannons.
These corvettes are offered instead of the modernisation of the MEKO frigates. The modernisation was planned to cost around a Billion euros, while a Gowind 2500 is estimated at around €350 millions, for completely new ships.