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Greece signals intent to buy French frigates

Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos on Thursday signalled Greece’s willingness to launch talks for the acquisition of two new navy frigates in talks with his French counterpart Florence Parly in Paris.

Greece signals intent to buy French frigates 925 001 Artist impression of a Belharra, the FDI frigate (Picture source: Naval Group)

The ministers signed a statement of intent for the acquisition by the Hellenic Navy of two Belharra-class frigates, Panagiotopoulos said, adding that there was “a long way to go” before an agreement is reached on the required “technical aspects” of the vessels.

Combined teams of DGA, the French Navy (Marine Nationale), Thales and Naval Group started putting the new SEA FIRE radar through its pace in September at the Shore Integration Facility (SIF) located in Southern France, near Toulon.

The FDI (Frégate de Defense et d’Intervention – Intervention and Defense Frigates) is the future class of frigate on order for the French Navy. Steel-cut for the first ship of the class is now on October 25, 2019. France plans to buy at least five.

If this deal goes through, Greece will become the first export customer for Naval Group’s Belharra-class frigates, which the French Navy is ordering as Frégate de Défense et d’Intervention (FDI).

These ships will displace around 4,000 tonnes and will be the first French warship to be fitted with flat-panel AESA radar (Thales’ Sea Fire 500) as well as a hull-mounted sonar. Its armaments fit will include Aster 30 air-defence missiles, a 76mm gun, MLU 90 torpedoes and MM-40 Exocet anti-ship missiles and possibly MdCN naval cruise missiles.)