The supply of 3+1 Corvettes is accelerated – Italian-French “naval battle” with a package proposal

The Ministry of National Defense has committed funds totaling approximately 2 billion euros, which will be allocated to the purchase of three corvettes and the upgrading of the four MEKO-type frigates – Tomorrow the launching ceremony of the first Belh@rra in France – Greece is pushing for the frigate to join the ranks of our Navy at the end of 2024 – The modernization of the MEKO 200HN frigates is in the final stretch

of Giorgos Evgenidis – [email protected] and Giorgos Dionisopoulos – [email protected] – SOURCE: FIRST SUBJECT – [Μετατροπή σε κείμενο:

The fiscal margins are narrow and a large part of the public resources is directed to the support of the citizens in the face of the energy crisis, however, the country’s armaments are also progressing at the same time. In the next period, new, important decisions are expected for large armament programs, with priority for the Navy, as “THEMA” had written in time, while rumors said of the order of a large batch of armored vehicles from the German war industry, after the concession of the Marder in exchange for the BMP-1s that made their way to Ukraine.

At the same time, the supply of 3+1 corvettes is developing into an Italian-French duel, with the Italian company Fincantieri preparing to come back with a new proposal for the Doha-class corvette, while the French Naval Group with Gowind plans to follow suit. According to information, Fincantieri has already informed the leadership of GEN regarding the general outline of its new proposal, while the French are expected to do the same in the coming days. Both proposals are linked to the course of development and consolidation of the country’s two main shipbuilding industries, the Elefsina Shipyards and the Skaramangas Shipyards. In fact, within the coming week the Supreme Maritime Council is going to meet again, having as a main topic on the discussion agenda, among other things, the examination of the new data concerning the specific supply – and the government’s goal is to make the decisions within December.

It should be noted that the Ministry of National Defense has committed funds totaling approximately 2 billion euros, which will be allocated to the purchase of three corvettes and the upgrading of the four MEKO-type frigates, amounts which are expected to increase over time, as during the process development of both programs it is estimated that hidden costs will appear, which are impossible to predict at the start of the process.

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As far as Fincantieri’s proposal is concerned, it is considered extremely tempting for the Greek side, given that it foresees the transfer of know-how and the construction of two of the three corvettes in Greek shipyards, specifically in Elefsina Shipyards. In particular, the Italians have proposed to the Greek side that the first corvette be built at the company’s shipyards in Italy and the remaining two at the Elefsina Shipyards, with a parallel transfer of know-how and technical support. However, in order for this to happen, the process of sanitizing the Elefsina Shipyards must be completed.

The proposal of the French is expected to be approximately the same, who, however, are currently seeking to link the supply of Gowinds with the course of implementation of the Belh@rra frigates. According to information, the Naval Group also plans to propose something similar in collaboration with the Skaramangas Shipyards, but only after the necessary modernization and expansion of the Greek shipyard’s tanks have been completed in order to be able to implement the relevant works. It is recalled that the Naval Group had submitted a proposal for the acquisition of four Gowind corvettes at 1.7 billion euros, a price that included shipbuilding, armament, crew training and subsequent support.

In 2024 the first Belh@rra

Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos has been invited by his French counterpart Sébastien Lecorny to attend the launching ceremony of the first French Belh@rra tomorrow, Monday, given that the very next frigate to enter the tank for construction will be the Greek one. According to information, at the center of the discussion between the two ministers will be the further acceleration of the delivery time of the first Belh@rra in our country, which in all probability, instead of March 2025 as originally planned, will join the ranks of our Navy at the end of 2024, as related work is proceeding at an extremely intensive pace.

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Mr. Panagiotopoulos is also expected to bring to the attention of the French the possibility of activating the option for the purchase of an additional Belh@rra frigate, the price of which is locked at 1 billion euros. The French are seeking to renegotiate the relevant contract due to the significant increase in prices for the ship’s construction raw materials. In this context, there is information that within the next period of time the Naval Group is preparing to submit a proposal-package for the acquisition from our country of the option frigate Belh@rra, as well as two Gowind corvettes at competitive prices.

MEKO modernization

At the same time, the modernization program of the four MEKO 200HN frigates is in the final stretch, for which approximately 500 million euros have already been committed. Their modernization program is to be undertaken by the German consortium of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Thales Nederland. The specific program is expected to start in 2023, with the first two ships entering for modernization and then being delivered two years later. According to the GEN staff, however, due to the increase in the prices of raw materials and because as the frigate upgrade program progresses, additional problems will constantly arise in systems that will have to be replaced, the final cost of the upgrade of the four MEKOs may, in the long run, even reach 1 billion euros.

Beyond that, and depending on budgetary developments, our Navy has other weapons to modernize, such as submarines. However, as government sources point out, there must be a prioritization. This is also the reason that the brakes were put on the plans for the operational upgrade of the Army, as permanent budgetary reserves are required in view of the very difficult continuation, but also of the upcoming election year full of uncertainties.

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