Total reset with modernization of “sea killers” MEKO “HYDRA” class

The frigate program is just as critical as acquiring new Surface Units such as corvettes

Written by Stavros Ioannidis – [email protected] – SOURCE: POLITICAL –
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The process for the modernization of the four “HYDRA” class MEKO frigates is being accelerated, as everything shows, as the increased operational needs of the Navy leave no room for further delays. It is not excluded, in fact, that the decision for the MEKOs precedes the selection of a new corvette, as both the GHETHA and the General Staff of the Navy consider that the modernization of the specific units must proceed as an absolute priority.

It is, after all, a complex and particularly difficult process, since the ships have well exceeded half of their life, the first of this class, in fact, entered service about thirty years ago and have traveled countless miles on the seas. This results in no one being able to predict with certainty the problems that may arise when deploying the new weapons, sensors and combat system requested by the Navy, while the same applies to the final cost, which currently cannot be accurately estimated. Navy sources note that ships of this age are rarely modernized, and many times the installation of new systems is considered unprofitable due to the structural deformations that a thirty-year-old ship may have suffered.

The suitors

A few days ago, however, the heads of the GEETHA and GEN informed the prime minister about the need to modernize the MEKOs, stressing that the program is just as critical as the acquisition of new Surface Units such as corvettes. After all, the timetables that the Navy must follow are suffocating, with its units providing a thunderous “presence” every day in every corner of the Aegean but also in important missions in Libya, Lebanon and wherever else the operational and allied needs of the country dictate .

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In the race for the MEKO modernization contract, it seems that the manufacturing company of the “HYDRA” class frigates, the German TKMS, is ahead, which claims the program together with the Dutch Thales. In addition to the know-how advantage, the German-Dutch consortium is said to offer the most competitive price, which is reportedly no more than €500 million for four frigates. Close behind is US-based Lockheed Martin, which may command the highest price, well above the 500 million mark, but is the only company to have upgraded MEKO frigates in the past.

This fact leads many to the conclusion that the modernization will cost more but will ensure that the strict deadlines of the schedule are met. A proposal has also been submitted by the French Group Naval, manufacturer of FDI Belharra frigates, which comes “packaged” with the company’s offer for corvettes. However, political and military leadership want to separate the two programs and thus, this proposal does not seem to have many chances.

An important parameter for the final selection will be the involvement of the Greek shipyards, with the three interested parties having already started contacts with the Skaramangas and Elefsina shipyards.

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