Here is an overview of the Hellenic Navy’s planned procurement of naval vessels and aircraft, as well as the expected modernization and upgrade of in-service vessels. The period we are focusing on spans from July 8, 2019, when the new government under Prime Minister K. Mitsotakis was formed, to the end of the current decade.
The graph below illustrates the tremendous effort by the government and the current leadership of the Hellenic Navy to modernize the Greek naval forces after years of cutbacks and inactivity.
In 2019-2021, three former Platform Support Vessels (PSV) were donated to the Navy by the shipowner Panos Laskaridis, as general support ships (replenishment, support, etc.). This was an important addition to the Hellenic Navy fleet which lacks modern logistic support vessels. In 2020 also, the 6th Roussen-class (Super Vita) FACM joined the Navy.
In the period 2021-2022, four Mk V Special Operations Craft (SOC) donated by the United States joined the Navy, after receiving several upgrades from the Navy including new communications suite, navigation radar and electro-optical sensor (FLIR EOS). In 2022, a locally designed SOC named Agenor, the 7th and final Roussen-class FACM, four Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boats (11M NSW RIB) donated by the United States, entered service with the Navy. The new FACM, is the last in the Roussen series and together with the 6th vessel, features some new sensors in comparison with the first five boats. In the same year, five Alpha 900 UAV entered service which intend to equip mainly the four Hydra-class (MEKO 200HN) frigates.
From 2023, Greece is about to receive four former US Coast Guard Island-class patrol vessels. These boats will replace some very old coastal patrol vessels, after receiving some important updates including modern armament. From the end of the year, and more likely by the beginning of 2024, Greece will receive five Alkmaar-class minehunters from the Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine) that will replace the sole Hunt-class minehunter (the second vessel, Kallisto, was involved in a collision with a commercial freighter and went out of service) and the two Osprey-class minehunters currently in service. Note that on October 27, 2021, a LOI for the possible transfer of two Karel Doorman-class (M) frigates and six Alkmaar-class (Tripartite-class) mine countermeasures vessels to the Hellenic Navy, was signed between Greece and the Netherlands.
From 2023 till the end of 2025, the Navy plans to upgrade its four Machitis-class (HSY56A) patrol vessels and the four Mk V SOC, with Rafael’s Spike NLOS and ER II ATGM and an electro-optical sensor, especially for the latter. The four Papanikolis-class (Type 214HN) and the sole Okeanos (Type 209/1500) AIP submarines, will receive their new Seahake Mod 4 torpedoes and their Leonardo decoy launching systems for self-protection against threats.
The period 2023-2026, various aircraft will boost the capabilities of the Force. Four upgraded and the heavily modernized P3 Orion MPA & SIGINT will gradually enter service together with seven (7) MH-60R helicopters. Currently there are discussions for 1+2 additional helicopters of the type while older S70 are partially modernized. The MH-60R will introduce new weapons to the Fleet; among others Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) rockets, Mk54 torpedoes, M-240 and GAU-21 crew served guns.
In the period 2024-2028, it is expected that the four Hydra-class frigates, the four Papanikolis-class SSK and at least the first four Roussen-class FACM will be modernized with new mission and platform systems.
In 2025 the first new major surface combatants after about three decades, the first two FDI frigates, will enter service in French configuration (Standard 1), which will replace non-modernized Elli-class (Kortenaer-class) frigates. The ships will be equipped with new UAV, in the size of Camcopter S100 or VSR700 systems; four such systems will be procured by 2027. The next year the third FDI will enter service which will be the first in the Hellenic Navy (Standard 2) configuration, that includes among others 16 additional Aster 30 SAM, 21-cell RAM CIWS and DLS.
Currently there is an ongoing competition for the acquisition of four or 3+1 corvettes. The main contenders are Naval Group with Gowind 2800, Fincantieri with FCX-30 (an Al Zubarah-class variant) and Damen with SIGMA 10514HN. The first two new corvettes are expected to join the Fleet in 2026. In 2027 the first two Std1 FDIs will be upgraded to Std2 configuration. A third corvette will enter service as well. If Greece exercises the option for the 4th FDI by July 2023, then the ship will join the Navy in 2028 in Std2 configuration. A 4th corvette might also join the Fleet by that time.
By the end of the 2020s, it is expected that two new submarines, as part of a possibly 2+2 program, will enter service. The first two European Patrol Corvettes (EPC), as part of the PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) projects, will also likely be inducted. In addition, during the current decade, more second-hand ships will likely be added to the Fleet.
The ultimate aim is to create a modern naval force by 2034 that will include, among other warships, 12 frigates, 6 corvettes and 8 submarines.
Nevertheless, throughout the current decade, the modernization of the Hellenic Navy vessels is continuous; this include the installation of new electronic equipment (navigation radars, communication systems, EOS, etc.) as well as new engines and various platform systems.