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Another Blow To France: U.S. Approved Potential Deals On Frigates Sale To Greece

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Another Blow To France: U.S. Approved Potential Deals On Frigates Sale To Greece

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On December 10, the U.S. State Department approved several potential deals with Greece. In its intention to upgrade the surface fleet, the naval force of Greece, the Hellenic Navy, may soon get the U.S. support in construction and modernisation of its frigates.

There is still a competition in Greece that is composed of three main parts. Athens are going to:

  • upgrade four Hydra-class MEKO 200 frigates,
  • buy four new frigates,
  • gain an interim capability to operate while its MEKO frigates are maintained.

In its turn, the U.S. Navy together with Lockheed Martin proposed their solution within the official U.S. bid in the competition. The defense contractor may upgrade the Greece’s frigates, sell a multi-mission frigate based off its Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship, dubbed the Hellenic Future Frigate. The U.S. Navy offers its four decommissioned LCSs or cruisers for sail.

For these purposes, a $2.5 billion sale for the modernization piece and a $6.9 billion sale for the four new frigates were announced by the U.S. State Department, notifying Congress about the potential deal.

“The modernization deal, if executed, would include upgrading the MEKOs by installing the Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWS) Phalanx BLK 1B Baseline 2, MK 45 five-inch 54 caliber guns, the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System developed for the Freedom LCSs, the AN/SQS-56 sonar and much more. Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and VSE would be the key contractors.

The new construction deal would include four multi-mission surface combatants with the Aegis-based COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System, 200 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) BLK 2, 32 Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC) missiles, 32 MK-54 All Up Round Lightweight Torpedoes and more — plus support equipment, training, technical support, logistics and more to ensure the new ships fold smoothly into fleet operations.” – Defense News reported.

The notification to the U.S. Congress is the last step before the letter of agreement will be sent over to Athens. Greece is currently waiting for six government/industry teams to submit their letters of agreement outlining their bids.

This news should be another blow for Paris, as France has recently announced its own $3.4 billion deal with Greece for sale of three frigates from its Naval Group. 

For a year and a half, Greece received bids from six countries, including:

  • the Netherland’s Damen (SIGMA 11515 HN);
  • France’s Naval Group (FDI-HN);
  • Italy’s Fincantieri (FREMM);
  • the United Kingdom’s Babcock (Arrowhead 140);
  • Germany’s Blohm+Voss (MEKO A-200);
  • the United States’ Lockheed Martin.

The finalization of a deal was continuously delayed due to Greece’s insistence that a frigate purchase must include a defense agreement.

Greece signed a 12-month Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) with the U.S. last year, but ultimately did not decide on which frigate bid to accept. With negotiations for a Franco-Greek defence pact last year stalling, Athens ultimately decided to sign the MDCA with Washington. This was rumored to be partially motivated as part of negotiations to pressure the French to accept Greek terms. However, following the emergence of AUKUS, European trust in the Anglosphere quickly diminished and thus galvanized Franco-Greek discussions on European independence. And finally, a deal to purchase three brand-new French Belharra-class frigates was stricken. The deal also supposed an option for the fourth frigate. The mutual defense assistance clause of the agreement ensures that if Greece or France is attacked on its territory, the other will come to assist, even if the attacking country is part of other alliances, including NATO.

French Ministry of Defense spokesman said shortly after that a memorandum of understanding had been signed, but that “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.” That statement came in late September, meaning the end of the three-month period is coming up in a matter of weeks.

Defense News reported that the U.S. team was specifically asked by Greece to continue work on its own bid despite the announcement from France. Greece reportedly made clear that it still wanted the U.S. to submit its comprehensive proposal, as it’s possible the French deal could not be executed, or that it could be executed in addition to Greece selecting some pieces of the U.S. bid to pursue. Moreover, it was noted that Athens were  specifically interested in Lockheed Martin to tailor its multi-mission frigate solution to bolster its anti-air warfare and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, even though the French frigate is an anti-air frigate.

“One of the big benefits of the U.S. offer, as compared to all the other offers, is that this is being done through the U.S. government Foreign Military Sales process. Greece has transacted somewhere near 2,000 Foreign Military Sales cases with the U.S. It’s a very well-established process, it’s a very transparent process,” Jon Rambeau, Lockheed’s vice president and general manager for the Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors business line, told Defense News in a Sept. 10 phone interview.

Another US benefit is that its Aegis Combat System would link Greek frigates with the whole Hellenic fleet in a joint network.


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Do you know what next? Indonesia rafale deal will be replaced by either F-15 EX or F-16 viper


That will probably be the tipping point before Macron loses it

Peter Wallace

If you read to the end you will see France and Greece agreed to the deal which included mutual assistance if one is attacked on their land. NB Turkey if they attack Greece then France will come to the aid of Greece.


There are mistakes in this article, there is no cancellation of deal between Greece and France, in fact just 2 days ago Greece and France sign the first draft of the contract for the 3 FDI frigates with an option for a 4th ship. The Hellenic ministry of defence confirmed it. And also Greece and France are in the final negotiations for the acquisition of 4 Gowind corvettes in a 3.000t version, so basically light frigates.

The US letter above is the answer after many months of the LoR that the Greece sent(March 2021) for information about cost and availability of the MMSC ship for the Greek frigate program, Lockeed Martin was one of the candidates but lost because in September 2021 the French Naval Group won with the FDI. Just for your info, in US under the Law when the LoR procedure begins it cant be stopped until its completion even if you have choose something else in the meantime and already Greece choose the french proposal, so this american report is just the typical finished procedure of answering the greek LoR but too late for them and thank God because MMSC is just a bad bad ship.

Greek FDI will have a 4 fixed AESA radar with a range of more than 300km against fighter the size of F-16, capable of tracking 800 targets and engage 16 of them simultaneously. It will be armed with 32 ASTER-30 1NT surface to air missiles, 8 Exocet blk 3C, MU90 torpedoes, a 76mm Super Rapido STRALES gun(with Dart guided ammunition), a RAM blk 2B, 2 Narwhal 20mm station weapons, hull mounted sonar Kingklip Mk2 and a towed variable dept sonar CAPTAS-4, the organic helicopter will be the new ΜΗ-60 Romeo that Greece recently ordered plus a UAV on board.

Last edited 11 months ago by Vas

You seem well informed. My immediate reaction to seeing this was: why is Greece with its tradition, unable these days to build shipping? Is it just the design they are buying? Nothing in these contracts is actually fabricated in Greek shipyards?

jens holm

You might see what EU has written about it. Its almost impossible to make any new things work there.


Many of the subsystems for all those ships will be made locally by Greek defence industries via transferring technology.

Right now the 2 main shipyards in Greece had problems, one of them just got a new owner few months ago, one of the biggest Greek shipowners of the world and they are modernizing the facilities so they can build once again and the second big shipyard is under talks right now to be bought from Fincantieri. As I said until the Greek shipyards are ready again, many of the subsystems for both the Frigates and Corvettes will be build locally, same with some of the weapons some percentage of the parts like the ASTER, Exocet etc.

Last edited 11 months ago by Vas
Peter Wallace

At the end of the article it does say that France and Greece made the agreement so not sure what all the horsemanure about making a deal with the US was all about.

Florian Geyer

Western nations are finding out that, ” There is NO honour amongst thieves “, LOL.

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