In addition to the Air Force (PA) and the Navy (PN), the Army is also on the path of armament reinforcement. The interest is fueled by the program for the acquisition of a new Armored Combat Vehicle (AMC), but the General Staff of the Army (GS) is moving forward with additional programs of lower cost but of high operational value.
In this direction, according to the writer’s exclusive information, the Directorate of Special Forces (SDF) in collaboration with the Special Warfare Command of the GEETHA as well as the staff of ASDEN are in the phase of drawing up the technical specifications for the acquisition of high-speed closed-type personnel transport aircraft. The first estimates indicate to DefenceReview.gr that at the center is a CB-90-type vessel of the Swedish Amphibious Forces (Amfibiekåren) with corresponding capabilities, capacities and performances.
In the first phase, it is planned by GES and GEETHA to acquire a number of boats such as the CB-90 so that the Amphibious Commandos will finally have military-spec boats and not civilian designs of inflatable boats (inflatables) of dubious operational value due to inherent disadvantages (lack of armor, limited radius of action, lack of suitable armament, small displacement).
During the current phase, the staffs are drawing up the operational specifications and the technical data that the candidate vessels should have. Key elements are that the vessels be at least 15 meters long, capable of carrying a minimum of 18-20 soldiers after a third-line combat load in a dedicated space with specifications of armor against small-caliber weapons, the ability to carry remote-controlled weapon stations or even installation short-range missiles to attack targets as well as full equipment of modern sensors and means of command and control.
The first reports speak of a cost per vessel of around 3 to 4 million euros, an amount comparable to a modern military-spec vessel such as those mentioned above.
At the staff level, the goal of the GEETHA is the rapid transfer of forces, the reinforcement and pre-reinforcement of islands and micro-islands, the support of main and intermediate islands in the ASDEN Area of Responsibility, the recapture of micro-islands and rocky islets as well as expeditionary actions on the coasts of Asia Minor. The boats are planned to serve in the Amphibious Commando Squadrons (or Special National Guard Department) and at the same time serve the Direct Intervention Forces consisting of parts of the Infantry Battalions.
At the same time, as DefenseReview.gr is informed, it is planned at the Saab level for the Swedish CB-90 to sail to Greece in the context of tests and evaluation, and we may see it at the DEFEA 2023 exhibition.
It is noted that the Special Forces and specifically the Amphibious Assault Squadrons in the Eastern Aegean islands will acquire the Viking Norsafe S-1200 Armored Munin boats in the coming years. The contract for the 41 vessels amounts to 16 million euros.
As GES and GEETHA officials emphasize to the writer, the aforementioned program concerns the replacement of the existing fleet of Magna 690 RIB vessels serving in EGETH. Therefore the need for boats like the CB-90 or other designs remains a given.
The Swedish SAAB presented the new CB-90 New Generation within the framework of the DSEI 2021 defense systems exhibition in London. In the CB-90 New Generation a number of improvements have taken place such as the new tactical combat system capable of interconnection and characterized by interoperability with other weapon systems such as ships and aerial vehicles, new sensors such as the onboard electro-optical system as well as the Saab radar Giraffe 1X an excellent add-on capable of providing the vessel with appropriate early warning from a multitude of threats (UAVs, aircraft, helicopters).
In general, the basic mission remains the same for the vessel designed for the needs of Sweden’s special forces in the archipelago environment of the Scandinavian country: rapid transport and deployment of amphibious forces in hard-to-reach places and rocky coasts.
The CB90 Next Generation (CB90 NG) is 16.3 meters long, has a maximum speed of 45 knots and has a range of 300 nautical miles with a continuous speed of 38 knots in sea state 1. The Saab vessel carries 21 fully equipped soldiers.
The CB90 Next Generation (CB90 NG) accepts a multitude and variety of weapon systems capable of providing suppressive and support fire to the amphibious landing forces. An example is Saab’s family of remote-controlled weapon turrets called Trackfire. The 12.7mm Trackfire, tested by the Swedish amphibious forces, is distinguished by its long-range fire accuracy.
Also, “small” guided missiles such as the Helfire, the French MMP or the short-range anti-aircraft missiles of the RBS-70 type can be mounted on the ship. It is noted that the Greek CB-90s of the Coast Guard have two small-caliber 7.62 mm machine guns in the bow in crypts and with remote-controlled operation from the cockpit.