As Navy officials emphasize, the combination of Belharra and Romeo will constitute the most powerful “anti-submarine” duo in the world since both the French frigates and the Romeos have the most modern anti-submarine systems that a surface unit and an anti-submarine helicopter can have.
With quiet steps the Navy is preparing its next impressive “strike” which is expected to follow the decision on the new corvettes of the Fleet. And it is none other than the acquisition of an additional three powerful MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters, so that the Romeos reach a total of ten. Already the Ministry of National Defense in collaboration with the Naval Staff and through the General Directorate of Defense Equipment and Investments is preparing the LOR mission to the American authorities with which Greece will express an official interest in acquiring three more Romeos which it will add to the remaining seven .
The Navy has decided for economic and technical reasons to invest, according to information, in three new state-of-the-art helicopters rather than proceeding with the maintenance of a corresponding number of S-70s from the total of eleven it has. With the goal in the coming years to have ten powerful MH-60Rs, the world’s best anti-submarine helicopters and eight more excellently maintained S-70s, i.e. a total of eighteen fully operational helicopters which will be a “fear” for Turkish submarines. The three additional Romeos are expected to be purchased at a preferential price, just as was done with the helicopters which were acquired at prices at which the US Navy buys, and even with FMS financing.
At the same time, preparations are underway for the Naval Helicopter Command to welcome the first three new Romeos to their “nest” in Kotroni Marathon. This is determined according to the latest information at the beginning of 2024 while by the end of the same year the remaining four are expected to be received. The modernization works of the Base and especially of the 1st Squadron’s shelter begin, while the arrival of the Romeos will be combined with the withdrawal of the “old wolves” AB-212 which for decades offered the maximum and are still ready for war and operational.
At the same time, at the beginning of 2023, a group of twelve members of the Helicopter Command of the PN is expected to leave for the USA in order to be trained by the Americans in the MH-60R. They will return on schedule to Greece and assume the role of trainers in the Navy’s new acquisitions. The first three Romeos, although they are still in the USA, already belong to the Navy, with the Americans completing the installation of the latest technology of electronic systems. Final tests will follow before the helicopters are transported to Greece. The procedure will be similar for the remaining four that follow as well as for the additional three that the Navy will order in the next period.
Just one year after the arrival of the first Romeos, the Fleet is expected to take delivery of the first French frigate Belharra, to be followed by the second at the end of 2025. As Navy officials emphasize, the combination of Belharra and Romeo will constitute the most powerful “anti-submarine » duo worldwide since both the French frigates and the Romeos have the most modern anti-submarine systems that a Surface Unit and an anti-submarine helicopter can have. A “nightmare” combination for the Turkish submarines as they will have to face high-tech ships and helicopters which they do not even have. But the Romeos will not only “snap” with the Belharra but also with the new corvettes and the modernized MEKO frigates.