Developments are expected this week regarding the Hellenic Navy’s frigate program as the Americans and the French will present their final proposals to the political and military leadership of the Defense Ministry.
More specifically, Lockheed Martin is promoting Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) frigates while in the French case, Naval is promoting its new Belharra frigates. Apart from these proposals, the Hellenic Navy is also examining the F110-class frigate of Spanish state-owned shipbuilding company Navantia.
This option is being pushed by the Development Ministry and entails the Onex shipyard company undertaking the construction as a package deal with Elefsina Shipyards.
Reportedly, all of the above options have their critics from a technocratic perspective.
In the case of the F110, many question the ability of Elefsina Shipyards to build these large frigates and note the recent experience of costly delays in the delivery of much smaller ships. As for the MMSCs, concerns have been raised about the ship’s performance, most importantly its propulsion system.
The criticism aimed at the Belharra focuses on the fact that they have not been constructed yet, and that a real understanding of their performance is elusive. There are also concerns about possible hidden costs.
The Hellenic Navy’s frigates program amounts to 5 billion euros, and includes the construction of four new frigates, the upgrade of the existing four MEKO-type vessels (Salamis, Spetsai, Hydra, Psara), while it also provides for co-production projects in order to strengthen local shipyards.
What’s more, the program also stipulates the provision of intermediate solution ships (preferably two), which will replace the older S-class frigates.
International developments are also expected to weigh heavily on discussions and Maximos Mansion will have the last word.