Since the first announcement of the US position through the so-called P&A (Price and Availability) which reportedly was priced at 2 billion euros for four vessels and follow on support (FOS), we had expressed serious reservations. In keeping with our public information ethics, the issue has been further explored in terms of the cost of those ships as we reiterate that in every respect, the price of 2 billion euros for the vessels, their weapons and their FOS is insanely low.
As a result, the price of 2 billion euros for four ships is incorrect. So what is the pricing like in reality?
First, the American P&A, which we saw with our own eyes, is priced at $4.4 billion USD for four MMSC ships, or 3.971 billion euros for four ships. This amount includes weapons and FOS.
In an previous article we mentioned the following: Despite its issues, the LCS experienced its first commercial success in Saudi Arabia, which decided to purchase four (4) Multi-Mission Surface Combatant, a ship based on the Freedom-class. According to US press reports, the cost of the program will be $6 billion or 5.39 billion euros (ships, weapons, support, training).
The MMSC ships are now under construction and their delivery will be completed by 2021. Each ship costs 1.34 billion euros with weapons and support. It should be noted here that the high cost of development requested by the US is included, which is not the case for the Greek side.
Here’s the question: How can the US offer MMSC modular ships for the price of American Freedom-class LCS ? Even if the price of 1.34 billion euros per ship is excessive due to research and development, weapons and infrastructure costs, how can we get to 500 million euros per ship with weapons and technical support ?
Second, the American P&A does not include construction of the vessels in Greece. This is because the situation with the yards is still catastrophic. The Skaramanga yards (Hellenic Shipyards) are managed by Deloitte so that a tender can be held at the beginning of the new year and Elefsis shipyards are basically maintained by the HN while negotiations are under way with the company that acquired Neoria Syros.
Third, for the SM-2, the P&A mentions that it is a decision of the Greek government, but in another part of the text, the Americans specify two additional details. The above value is for ships without SM-2 missiles and note that with the existing radar the ships require radar modifications to fire the missiles, so a newer radar is probably required. Therefore, we are talking about four ships carrying 32 ESSMs in eight cells (with each MK41 cell fitted with quad-packed ESSM missiles). Simply put, the price is for a similar configuration to MMSC for the Royal Saudi Navy. In addition, the American P&A does not mention anywhere that ships will carry variable depth sonar.
Fourth, there is no mention on the Greek side of the Arleigh Burke issue. The Americans do not offer us Arleigh Burke-class vessels. They are unavailable at present and their intention is to maintain the existing ships in their fleet without any decommissioning of Arleigh Burke destroyers. In addition, the Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Navy previously declared that even if the US Navy decommissioned its ships, other countries that are part of the US missile shield and are close US allies in Asia and the Middle East would get them first.
What is true is that the process can be achieved through FMS. Note that FMS is not a free process. There is a 10% charge on each program as a US Government service.
Before concluding, let us emphasize that the above information is completely true and cross-referenced by the General Directorate of Equipment and the Directorate-General for Equality while we also contacted high-level government sources of the Ministry of Interior. We wrote them with sincerity and respect to those who were watching us so that there would be no illusions or pious wishes.
And last but not least, we have mentioned US Navy ships for which the HN may have an interest: an agreement was signed with the US without the government from the outset putting any clear consideration. So far all that is available is the upgrading of some facilities of the Army Air Force Base and the Alexandroupolis port.
A version of this post originally appeared in Greek language at DefenceReview.GR. It’s been republished here with their collaboration and permission.