After a lengthy period of planning, searching, and evaluating offers from the world’s largest defense companies, the Hellenic Navy’s frigate procurement saga is nearing completion.
The most recent public milestone was the French Minister for the Armed Forces and her Greek counterpart’s visit to the Naval Group shipyard in Lorient (Brittany) on 13 January 2022. During the visit, Greece made no major new announcements regarding the procurement of frigates, but it was a strong signal.
According to local media, the details of the contract were set to be discussed starting on 11 February 2022 with a vote expected on the 15th.
The Hellenic Parliament’s publication of the contract paperwork provides some major details about the procurement program.
The FDI frigate contract provides the timeline and other significant issues regarding the frigates.
The document defines two configurations for the frigates, Standart-1, and Standart-2:
- Standard-1 refers to a lighter configuration lacking additional capabilities such as decoy launchers, equipped with 2×8-cell Sylver A50 VLS-cells (with 16 ASTER missiles), and lacking a RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) point defence missile system (PDMS).
- Standard-2 refers to a more equipped configuration, fitted with decoy launchers, 4×8-cell Sylver A50 VLS-cells (with 32 ASTER missiles), and RAM PDMS.
As previously announced, Greece will purchase three FDI frigates from the Naval Group, with an additional frigate available as an option. The first two frigates will be in Standard-1 configuration, or French configuration, while the third will be in Standard-2 setup. If the additional frigate option is chosen, the fourth frigate will be Standard-2 as well.
Both configurations will be armed with 2×4 Exocet MM40 Block 3c anti-ship missiles, 76 mm Super Rapido gun, and 2×20 mm Nexter Narwhal remote weapon system.
The first two frigates will be upgraded to Standard-2 configuration approximately one year after the delivery of the third frigate, and the delivery of the additional frigate is scheduled after the upgrades of the first two if the option is exercised.
Here is the timeline of the project’s milestone events mentioned in the document:
- 31.10.2022 – First Steel Cutting of the 2nd frigate
- 30.11.2022 – First block in the drydock of the 1st frigate
- 31.10.2023 – First Steel Cutting of the 3rd frigate
- 30.11.2023 – First block in the drydock of the 2st frigate
- 31.08.2024 – First Sea Going of the 1st frigate
- 31.03.2025 – Delivery of the 1st frigate
- 30.06.2025 – First Sea Going of the 2nd frigate
- 31.10.2025 – Delivery of the 2nd frigate
- 30.06.2026 – First Sea Going of the 3rd frigate
- 31.10.2026 – Delivery of the 3rd frigate
- 31.01.2027 – Completion of the upgrade of the 2nd frigate to Standard-2
- 30.09.2027 – Completion of the upgrade of the 1st frigate to Standard-2
As can be seen above, the first cutting-steel of the first frigate is not mentioned in the document. Naval News can confirm that the first metal sheets for the first FDI HN have already been cut (having seen them along a group of Greek journalists during the keel laying ceremony of the first FDI for the French Navy). All of the frigates will be delivered in Lorient, France.
FDI HN Performances:
The document covers the Hellenic Navy’s performance expectations from the frigates. The performance specifications were given in an ANNEX of the contract, but it doesn’t exist on the Parliament’s document.
Some of the key performance parameters of the frigates are given in the table below.
About FDI frigates
The FDI is a front line surface combatant with a 4,500 tons class displacement. Multipurpose and resilient, she is capable of operating, alone or within a naval force. She offers capabilities for all types of warfare: anti-surface, anti-air, anti-submarine, and as well as for special forces projection. Bringing together the best of French naval technologies on a compact platform, the FDI is a powerful and innovative frigate, designed to meet the evolution of threats.
It is the first frigate to benefit from a digital architecture that will allow her continuous adaptation to technological and operational evolutions. As a result, the FDI will be able to address current and future threats and to handle always more data.
The FDI will be the first French frigate natively protected against cyber threats, with two data centers virtually accommodating a great part of the ship applications. The FDI introduces the concept of a dedicated system for asymmetric warfare. This system will enable the coordination and conduct of the fight against small and close air and surface threats, including booby-trapped boats.
Strongly armed (Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles, Aster 15/30 anti-air missiles, MU90 antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery), the FDI is able to embark simultaneously a helicopter (10 tons class such as NH90) or the future Joint Light Helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (up to 700kg). She can also receive a Special Forces detachment with their two commando boats. They are equipped with the new generation Seafire radar with four fixed panels, developed by Thales, which, combined with the missile delivery system, offers unmatched area defense capabilities.
FDI Technical specifications
- displacement: 4,500 tons class ;
- length: 122 meters ;
- beam: 18 meters ;
- max. speed: 27 knots ;
- autonomy: 45 days ;
- operational availability: 3,500 hours per year
- aviation facility: 10 ton-class helicopter + 1 UAV (up to 700 Kg)
- accommodation: 125 + 28 passengers.