Greece and France have entered into a memorandum of understanding which will eventually see the Hellenic Navy receive three FDI frigates from French shipbuilder Naval Group, pending the outcome of a negotiation phase.
The MOU was signed on September 28 by Nikólaos Panayotópoulos, the Greek Minister of Defence, Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group, and Eric Béranger, CEO of French missile maker MBDA.
The agreement also includes an optional, fourth, frigate, and is a welcome development for France following Australia’s cancellation of the Attack-class submarine mega-deal in favor of a nuclear-powered boat design that would be delivered by the UK and US.
“With Greece, today we are entering into a strategic cooperation partnership in the field of defense and security. It strengthens our collective security, our strategic autonomy and our European sovereignty,” French president Emanuel Macron said following his meeting Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Paris.
Greece chose the FDI over solutions proposed by America’s Lockheed Martin, Dutch Damen, UK’s Babcock, and German, Spanish, and Italian companies.
The announcement on the agreement came after France revised its offer earlier this year. As outlined, the agreement foresees the acquisition of up to six warships, three FDI frigates, and subsequently, three Gowind corvettes.
With all options exercised, the deal would have an estimated value of $5 billion.
The FDI frigate for the Hellenic Navy will feature the “best technologies of Naval Group, Thales and MBDA,” including the Aster 30 B1 and Exocet MM40 Block 3C missiles.
Greece will become the second customer of this multi-mission frigate, bringing the number of units produced from five for the French Navy to eight in total, plus one as an option.
Warships are not the only defense asset France is supplying to Greece. The two sides signed a contract for 18 Rafale fighter aircraft in January this year, amending the agreement this month to bring the total number of Rafales on order to 24. The first aircraft was delivered in July.