In late May, France submitted its final proposal to meet the Hellenic Navy’s needs for new and modernised frigates for its surface combatant fleet. The programme calls for: (a) four new-build frigates based on the French Navy’s next-generation FDI defence and intervention design concept; (b) the modernisation of four Hellenic Navy type Meko 200 HN frigates that entered service between 1992 and 1998; and (c) the transfer, starting in early 2022, of two French Navy frigates, namely the Jean Bart air-defence (AAW) frigate, built in 1991, and the Latouche-Tréville anti-submarine warfare (ASW) frigate built in 1990. The last is an interim, or ‘gap-filler’, solution to the client’s urgent capability needs until the new and modernised ships enter service. The Meko frigates will be modernised at a Greek shipyard.
Meko 200 NH frigate (© : Jean-Claude Bellonne)
Four ships for delivery between 2025 and 2029
Naval Group, in partnership with Thales and MBDA, proposes to deliver the first Greek configuration FDI, or FDI HN, in early 2025. Note in passing that Thales has a strong presence in Greece through its subsidiary Hellas. This tight deadline will be met by ‘dipping into’ the production pipeline for the FDI frigates under construction for the French Navy, the first of which was laid down at Naval Group’s Lorient yard in late 2019. The first-of-class is scheduled for delivery in early 2024, followed, in line with the recent programme acceleration, by two more in 2025. The second of these will now go to Greece. The partners then plan to build the remaining three in Greece under a technology transfer programme to expand the country’s know-how in warship construction. Naval Group has committed to ensuring that the locally built ships will be delivered in 2027, 2028 and 2029.
FDI HN overview
The FDI HNs will be almost identical to their French counterparts, save for the communications systems and several dedicated subsystems. They will have a length overall of 121.6 metres, a beam of 17.7m, and a full-load displacement of 4400 tonnes. Each ship will be equipped with a Sea Fire multi-function phased-array radar, a KingKlip Mk2 hull-mounted sonar, and a Captas 4 towed array. With a complement of 150 and powered by four 8000-kW MTU diesels, the type offers a top speed of 27 knots, 45 days’ endurance, and a range of 5000nm at 15kts.
The Greek weapons configuration will include eight Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles to the latest…
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