Rapid developments and strong background for “MEKO” and corvettes

The prices of raw materials and especially the expensive energy with the oil skyrocketing translate into a change of course by the “suitors” with the latest offers they give to the Navy now far from the initial ones with the increase estimated at almost 20% .

of Kostas Sarikas

The Navy has been moving forward in the last few days in order to complete the deal for the modernization of the four MEKO frigates of the “HYDRA” class. The program is at the top of the priorities and every month that goes by seems to be working aggravatingly since the developments in the global economy and consequently in the shipbuilding industry are not only judged as positive.

The prices of raw materials and especially the expensive energy with the oil skyrocketing translate into a change of course by the “suitors” with the latest offers they give to the Navy now far from the initial ones with the increase estimated at almost 20% . This also applies to the big favorite which, as reported by Newpost, is none other than the German consortium TKMS-Thales Netherlands. With the Naval Staff having almost reached the choice of the Germans for a number of reasons relating to cost, know-how and the advanced contacts the consortium has made with the Greek shipyards.

After all, this is the manufacturing company of the Hellenic MEKOs which knows ships better than any other and has given examples of writing with the collaboration it had with the Skaramangas shipyards for the “building” of frigates in Greece. In addition, the initial German offer was at half the cost of the modernization package offered by Lockheed Martin, although the American company is talking about a complete modernization of all the ship’s systems.

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But the initial, according to the information, offer of around 500 million in which the proposal of TKMS-Thales Netherlands ranged seems to have changed with the company having readjusted its offer which now exceeds 700 million for the same “package” modernization. An amount that escapes from the already estimated budget of half a billion available to the Navy for the modernization of MEKOs and with the risk that the program will escape even more given that no one knows precisely the state of critical systems of the ship.

After all, the Fleet Executives themselves speak of a program with an increased risk index due to the age of the ships. Thus, the effort of the Navy is now focused on compressing the cost to approximately 600 million with clear insurance valves for any eventuality. On the positive side, however, the Germans are credited with the advanced contacts with Greek shipyards and the favorite to undertake the modernization of Skaramangas, while there is also an alternative shipyard. In any case, the goal is to “lock” the deal even by the end of 2022.

However, the example of the soaring prices for the modernization of MEKOs reinforces the intention that the Naval Staff has already shown to pressure the political leadership to activate the option for the 4th French FDI frigate. The “locked” price of the ship at around 900 million based on the agreement which includes the full armament of the frigate now becomes even more tempting. With the Navy having until early summer 2023 to activate the option.

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The speed in the construction of both the first French Belharra “Amiral Ronarch”, at a similar pace, and the first Greek FDI F-601 “KIMON” is another strong argument for choosing to activate the option. With the counterpoint, however, stressing that one billion should be channeled to the corvettes. A decision is expected to be made probably in the Spring, since an important parameter that will determine the developments is the sanitation of the Elefsina shipyards.

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