Hervé Grandjean, spokesman of the French MoD said this monring during a press briefing:
“It is a MOU that has been signed. A contract in due form remains to be signed in the next months. We are opening a period of three months at the end of which the official contract will be signed. The order of magnitude of the contract is 3 billion Euros”
He added that the 3 billion budget includes the ships, the weapon systems as well as the support of the ships for three years.
Regarding the schedule for the Hellenic Navy, the first two frigates will be delivered to the Hellenic Navy in 2025 and the third one in 2026. Grandjean said “this first export customer validates the decision of the French MoD to develop the FDI frigate”. At 4,500 tons, the FDI is smaller than the 6,000 tons FREMM but packs the same firepower and features a much better radar, the SeaFire by Thales.
Accoding to the French MoD, the Hellenic Navy frigates will be fitted with (among other systems):
- 32x Aster 30 B1 surface to air missiles
- 8x Exocet anti-ship missile MM40 B3c
- MU90 torpedoes
- CANTO anti torpedo decoys
A Naval Group source told Naval News that the frigates that Greece is set to acquire will not be similar to the French Navy’s future Amiral Ronarc’h-class but are known as “FDI HN” meaning they will feature a level customization to meet the specific requirements of the Hellenic Navy. Details of the FDI HN final configuration are not known yet, but they will likely feature a RAM close in weapon systems (CIWS) for example.
Some elements (likely subsystems) of the FDI HN will be built in Greece. Naval Group already discussed with close to 100 Greek companies, several dozens are in advanced talks to integrate the FDI supply chain. The deal will create jobs in Greece for the construction phase as well as the through life support of the frigates.
French President Emmanuel Macron said after meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis that Greece would buy the three frigates from France as part of a deeper “strategic partnership” between the two countries to defend their shared interests in the Mediterranean. Macron added that this is a major boost for the EU’s defence ambitions.
According to the French MoD, the strategic partnership includes a “mutual assistance clause” which reads as follow:
“The parties shall render mutual aid and assistance by all appropriate means, if necessary through the use of armed force, if they jointly determine that an armed attack has occurred against the territory of one of them”
The new delivery schedule of the FDI frigates (all built at Naval Group surface ships shipyard in Lorient, Britany) is as follow. It does impact slightly the delivery of two frigates for the French Navy:
FDI #1 1st frigate for the French Navy 2024 (no change)
FDI #2 1st frigate for the Hellenic Navy early 2025
FDI #3 2nd frigate for the Hellenic Nav late 2025
FDI #4 2nd frigate for the French Navy early 2026 (instead of 2025)
FDI #5 3rd frigate for the Hellenic Navy later 2026
FDI #6 3rd frigate for the French Navy 2027 (instead of 2026)
FDI #7 4th frigate for the French Navy 2028 (no change)
FDI #8 5th frigate for the French Navy 2029 (no change)
According to French Navy Commander Lavaud, the three upgraded La Fayette-class frigates will help fill the gap until the delivery of the second and third FDI.
Asked about a possible order of Gowind corvettes by Greece, the French MoD spokesman said:
“The Gowind corvettes can be a solution to meet the needs of the Hellenic Navy which we can understand that they are not exhausted with this order of 3 + 1 frigates. Nevertheless this is more a question that should be asked to our Greek partners”.
France’s Naval Group was competing against:
- Fincantieri FREMM
- Damen Sigma 11515
- Naval Group FDI
- Lockheed Martin HF2
- Babcock Arrowhead 140
About the FDI frigate:
The FDI frigate is the 5th generation of combat ship for naval supremacy and crisis management. This warship is designed for navies looking for a compact frigate able to perform a large range of missions stand-alone or within a task force either. Like the FREMM, the FDI frigate features high level capabilities in anti-air, antisurface, anti-submarine and asymmetric warfare domains, taking into account French Navy operational legacy acquired in wartime situation. As the first digital frigate, FDI frigate integrates latest-generation systems around a naval digital distributed cloud architecture, natively cyber-secured and compatible with the new Information Technologies developments and evolutions and provides sailors with adapted services. Different versions are available to embrace the specific needs of each navy.