The “naval battle” for corvettes: French reliance with a “package” proposal for a 4th FDI frigate and 2 corvettes – The Italian offer – German “advantage” for MEKOs

Opposite the French proposal will be the Italians of Fincantieri who in turn are expected to go down to the next and probably last “round” of the “duel” with their own strong “papers”.

of Kostas Sarikas

The “suitors” for both the Hellenic Fleet’s corvette program and the modernization of the MEKO frigates are adapting to the new situation, regrouping and preparing their final attack. The government’s change of course by reducing the budget for the Navy to 2 billion and postponing the decision on the corvette program is changing the companies’ strategy. Both for the two favorites vying for the construction of the Greek corvettes, the Italian Fincantieri and the French Naval Group, as well as for the main “fighters” in the modernization program of the four “HYDRA” class MEKO frigates, the German Joint Venture TKMS-Thales Netherlands and the American Lockheed Martin.

According to information from Newpost, the French of the Naval Group, having already acquired the speed of building the FDI frigates, “read” the needs of the Fleet and are preparing an impressive relaunch with a “package” proposal. The French proposal will concern activation of the option for the fourth Greek FDI with a simultaneous offer for two Gowind corvettes. The cost for all three ships together with their armament will reach 1.5 billion euros. In other words, as much as the reduced budget for the corvette program provides, since the remaining 0.5 billion euros is expected to be allocated to the modernization of the four MEKO frigates.

The French are returning to the “naval battle” with “a dowry” the very fast construction of the first Greek frigate FDI F-601 “KIMON” which brought the complete satisfaction of the Naval Staff with the progress of the work with the possible delivery of the ship before March now open of 2025. A proposal that enables the Navy to acquire in the coming years four state-of-the-art frigates with increased A/A capabilities and at the same time two corvettes that meet the operational needs as determined by the evaluation of the Navy Executives. With the construction of the two ships – which will have absolute homogeneity with the FDI – in Greek shipyards.

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Opposite the French proposal will be the Italians of Fincantieri who in turn are expected to go down to the next and probably last “round” of the “duel” with their own strong “papers”. Which are none other than the successful “Doha” corvette which perfectly covers the needs of the Greek Fleet but mainly from the investment proposal they allegedly have for the Elefsina shipyards under rehabilitation.

Since they are well aware that the government’s wish is for the corvette program to be combined with the “resurrection” of the shipyards and the creation of jobs. With reports stating that Fincantieri has expressed an interest in investing in the separated new defense division of the shipyards under the consolidation plan with the commercial passing to the American ONEX. In addition, the Italian shipbuilding giant is reportedly in need of a new shipyard in the Mediterranean since the orders it already has cannot be fulfilled in its own shipyards in Italy.

But at the given time, the priority for the government is the modernization of the four “HYDRA” class MEKO frigates. Where the German joint venture TKMS-Thales Netherlands seems to have a clear advantage mainly due to the cost of the offer but also know-how. The 500 million now available for the MEKO frigates set a relatively limited range of modernization which, however, seems to be covered by the German proposal, while the consortium is said to have advanced contacts with Greek shipyards since the program must be carried out within borders.

The American proposal of Lockheed Martin, as Newpost has already revealed, is close to 1 billion but foresees a complete modernization of all the ship’s systems. But both the limited budget of 500 million and the fact that the “life expectancy” for the ships is estimated to be limited are negative parameters that give little chance for this proposal to prevail unless LM is reinstated.

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