Story by Dimitris Mitsopoulos, reporting from Amfiali Naval Base near Athens.
The event took place at the Amfiali Naval Base on September 29, 2022 in presence of the Greek Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, the President of the Parliament, the Deputy Minister of Defense, the Deputy Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, the Chief Hellenic Army General Staff, the Chief of Hellenic Navy General Staff , the Deputy Chief of Hellenic Air Force General Staff, the Chief in Command of the Hellenic Fleet, Members of the Parliament and other distinguished guests.
The new boat was named after Lieutenant Panagiotis Vlahakos who lost his life on January 31, 1996 during the Imia crisis, when an AB 212 helicopter (PN 21) crashed into the sea. His brother Nikolaos Vlahakos christened the boat.
Serious financial problems for the shipyard and the Greek state resulted in a huge delay between the construction of the first four Roussen-class FACs and the last three. Actually, the ship building time started to increase from the fourth boat in the class and onwards. In particular, the first boat in the class was launched in 2002 and commissioned in 2005, the fourth boat was launched in 2005 and commissioned in 2010, the fifth one was launched in 2006 and commissioned in 2015 (when it was supposed to be delivered by 2010), and the sixth boat, despite that it was ordered in 2008 (and it was supposed to be delivered by 2012), it was launched in 2015 and joined the Fleet in 2021!
The sensors and armament of HS Ypoploiarchos Vlahakos is pretty much the same to its older Roussen-class FACs with few differences. Similarly to P78 Karathanasis, the new FACM is equipped with a Thales Vigile 100 R-ESM system and the new generation Thales STIR 1.2 EO Mk2 FCR, in place of the DR 3000 and STING FCR (of previous generation), fitted on the first five vessels of the class. Moreover, the last two boats will be able to deploy the Exocet MM40 Block 3C anti-ship missiles and RAM Block 2 SAM, from the beginning of their operational life. The last pair of boats carries the new VIKING Norsafe METIS 600 RHIB amidships. There are also some improvements in the software of various systems and electronics due to technological advances.
Currently, the Hellenic Navy is considering an MLU program for the older vessels in the class to bring them up to the same technological level as the final two, more modern, ships in the class.
About Roussen-class FACM
The Roussen-class FACM are based a stretched variant of the successful Vita design in used with the navies of Qatar and Oman.
They have a length of 62 meters, a beam of 9.5 meters, a draft of 2.8 meters for a full load displacement of 668 tons. They can reach a maximum speed of over 35 knots and a range of 2,250nm with 18 knots. They have a crew of 45 sailors.
In terms of weapon systems, these FACM are quitted heavily armed for their size: an OTO 76 Super Rapid 76mm main gun, 8x Exocet MM40 Block 2/3/3c anti-ship missiles, a 21-RAM surface-to-air (SAM) missile launcher, 2 x OTO Breda 30mm guns and 2 x MG3 machine guns.
First ship of the class P 67 Ypoploiarchos Roussen was launched in November 2002 and commissioned in December 2005.
They are fitted with early 2000s sensors and systems (MW08 3D G-band surveillance radar, MIRADOR EO sensor, SCOUT MkII LPI radar and TACTICOS combat management system all from Thales).
About the author:
Dimitris Mitsopoulos is a Freelance Writer based in Athens, Greece. He writes articles about naval ships, coast guard vessels, weapons and fleets for various publications. Dimitris is the founder of navalanalyses.com, a website that is dedicated to analyzing naval developments and classes of warships with the use of graphic design and extended bibliography.