Belharra: Construction of the second frigate for the Navy begins

Construction of the Navy’s second Belharra frigate has begun by Naval Group, whose shipyard in Lorient, France, held the ceremony for the first sheet cutting today, Wednesday.

The program for the purchase of three FDI frigates – plus one more in option – for the Hellenic Navy was signed, this year, on March 24. Less than four months later, and while the first frigate is already in the production stage, the cutting of the first sheet of the second frigate took place today.

As announced by the Naval Group, the ceremony took place in the presence of the Hellenic Navy frigate program manager, Naval Group, Gilles Langlois, as well as Admiral Theoharis Hatzopoulos, commander of the Hellenic Navy echelon in Lorient.

“We are very happy to be here today in Lorient to celebrate this first major industrial milestone in the production of the second frigate for the Hellenic Navy” said Gilles Langlois and added:

“We are proud to have achieved this milestone more than three months ahead of schedule and are fully committed to delivering the best frigates to the Hellenic Navy in the shortest time possible.”

For his part, Commander-in-Chief Theocharis Hatzopoulos pointed out that “the ceremony of cutting the first sheet is an important step in the FDI program”.

“The FDI frigates,” he continued, “will contribute to strengthening the capabilities of the Hellenic Fleet and addressing the security challenges of the coming decades. The cooperation between the Navy and Greek industry within the framework of the FDI program is starting to materialize and there are promising signs of a smooth and productive cooperation”.

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According to the Naval Group announcement, the FDIs will rapidly and sustainably enhance the capabilities of the Navy’s surface fleet as they will be delivered in a very short period of time, starting in 2025 for the first two units and 2026 for the third.

Strong participation plan of the Greek industry

Naval Group has defined a strong plan for Greek industrial participation in the frigate program for the Hellenic Navy with the aim of developing new capabilities in Greek industry, maintaining highly skilled jobs and creating long-term economic benefits in Greece.

Already, the first four contracts with Greek companies were signed in June 2022, while Naval Group has entered into exclusive talks with five more companies for the supply of the main equipment of the frigates, and more contracts are expected to be announced in the coming months.

Furthermore, beyond the frigate program, the Naval Group is committed to building strong and long-term partnerships to support the Hellenic Navy and develop the naval warfare capabilities of the Greek industry.

The FDI frigates

The FDI frigate – also known as the Belharra – is a 4,500-ton offshore, multi-role ship. It has high-level capabilities in all areas of warfare (anti-ship, anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and special forces projection).

It is equipped with Exocet MM40 B3C surface-to-surface missiles, Aster 30 anti-aircraft missiles, MU90 anti-submarine torpedoes, as well as guns. The frigate is capable of carrying a helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle at the same time.

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