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Greece may acquire German frigates to boost defense as tensions with Turkey rise in Mediterranean

In an annual state of the economy speech, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece will buy 18 Dassault Rafale fighters from France and well as additional weapons including Scalp EG air-launched cruise missiles, but the anticipated order for two FDI-class frigates, for which Greece signed a Letter of Intention in October, is apparently not included.


In an annual state of the economy speech, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece will buy 18 Dassault Rafale fighters from France and well as additional weapons including Scalp EG air-launched cruise missiles, but the anticipated order for two FDI-class frigates, for which Greece signed a Letter of Intention in October, is apparently not included.
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Greece may acquire German frigates to boost defense as tensions with Turkey rise in Mediterranean 925 001Turkey has sent a research vessel escorted by military vessels to Greek waters. (Picture source: Turkish Defence Ministry)


Announcing a major military modernization package on September 12 2020, in Salonika, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis confirmed the expected order for 18 Rafale combat aircraft but did not name the supplier of four – not two, as previously reported – frigates that were also expected to be supplied by France.

Instead of Naval Group’s Belharra-class frigates, it was reported by local media over the week-end that Greece will instead buy four Meko 200 frigates, made by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, which also supplied four older frigates that Greece now plans to upgrade to a similar equipment standard.

If confirmed, this would be a major setback for France, as Greece in October 2019 had signed a Letter of Intent for the acquisition of two Belharra frigates, also known as Frégates de Défense et d’Intervention (FDI). French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly announced signature of the LoI in an October 10 post on her Twitter account.

More details on the cost of the programme and origin of the weapons purchases will be announced at a news conference on September 20 2020, a government source said.