Through

Vincent Lamigeon

on 09/27/2021 at 9:21 a.m.

4 min read

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France is approaching an agreement with Athens on the sale of three FDI frigates and three to four Gowind corvettes. If nothing has yet been finalized, an agreement on Monday, during the meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is not excluded.

Ten days after the humiliation of the Australian submarines, will France offer itself revenge in Europe? Naval Group seems in any case to be in pole position on one of the biggest naval competitions of the moment, the call for tenders launched by Greece for four new generation frigates. According to several sources interviewed by Challenges, who confirm information from the Greek press, Greece would be very seduced by the latest offer sent by France. Deposited last week in Athens by the CEO of Naval Group Pierre-Eric Pommellet, it would consist of three defense and intervention frigates (FDI), plus one optional, and, great novelty, three to four Gowind corvettes from 2,500 tons. Asked by Challenges, Naval Group declined to comment.

The Greek competition is not a consolation prize. The amount of the contract, if signed, would be in the order of 5 billion euros, not so far from the 8 billion euros that Naval Group is expected to cash from the Australian submarine contract canceled in mid-September by Canberra . It would also be a nice revenge for Naval Group after the Australian Trafalgar hit. In Athens, the French group has to face competition from the United States, which gave it the contract for submarines in mid-September. The latter offer the HF2 frigate

The Greek competition is not a consolation prize. The amount of the contract, if signed, would be in the order of 5 billion euros, not so far from the 8 billion euros that Naval Group is expected to cash from the Australian submarine contract canceled in mid-September by Canberra . It would also be a nice revenge for Naval Group after the Australian Trafalgar hit. In Athens, the French group has to face competition from the United States, which gave it the contract for submarines in mid-September. The latter offered the Lockheed Martin HF2 frigate, a “Hellenized” version of the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). Naval Group must also face the Italian Fincanteri, who is supposed to be its partner in the Naviris joint venture, and the Dutch Damen. Offers from the Spanish Navantia and the British Babcock had been rejected in the spring, as was an offer from the German TKMS.

Will the Greek contract be completed in the coming days? In the French camp, we oscillate between optimism and great caution. According to our information, the CEO of Naval Group Pierre-Eric Pommellet flew to Greece this week, to personally file and defend the French offer. The Directorate General of Armaments and the MBDA missile also made the trip to defend the offer. The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, has also put all her weight to move the file forward, especially on the financial aspect. If the discussions are successful, an agreement could be reached on Monday, September 27, during the meeting, scheduled in Paris, between Emmanuel Macron and the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The two men are due to inaugurate the new exhibition at the Louvre “Paris-Athens, birth of modern Greece” around 7 pm, before a working dinner scheduled at the Elysee Palace at 8:30 pm. The Greek press evokes a possible meeting between the Minister of the Armies Florence Parly and her Greek counterpart Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in the wake to settle the last details, if the negotiations have advanced enough.

The French offer has been largely modified compared to that submitted in the spring. The latter included four IDFs, including the first assembly in Lorient, and the other three in Greece. It also planned to provide two second-hand frigates pending delivery from the IDF. These, the Jean Bart and the Latouche-Tréville, would have been taken from the French navy fleet. As Athens was not at all interested in the two ships, the offer was completely revised. According to the planned scheme, unveiled last night by the Greek press and confirmed at Challenges, it provides for three FDI in export version (Belharra). These would be assembled in Lorient, a huge bowl of oxygen for the Breton site. They would be powerfully armed, notably with Aster 30 missiles from MBDA and Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles, and fitted with the brand new Sea Fire radar from Thales. Paris would have undertaken to deliver two of these frigates to Athens from 2025. This very aggressive schedule is a major advantage of the French offer: it would allow Athens not to have to launch an expensive plan to renovate its current Meko frigates. This program was estimated at one billion euros.

But the great novelty of the offer is the Gowind corvettes. France would offer three copies of this ship of just over 2,500 tonnes, the largest of the current Gowind family, already ordered in two (plus two optional) by the United Arab Emirates and four by Egypt. . The three ships, most likely armed with VL Mica missiles, would be assembled in Greece. A two-Gowind scheme, plus two optional, is also being considered. The scheme is far from definitive: Athens would not have totally ruled out taking a muscular version of the Gowind, weighing 3,100 tonnes.

Will September 27 be decisive? The whole French camp hopes so. Because American competition remains on the lookout. A new Greek-American defense agreement is due to be signed on October 14. For Naval Group, it would be fashionable to complete the Greek dossier beforehand.

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Related title :
After Australian humiliation, Naval Group close to & # 39; revenge in Greece?

Ref: https://www.challenges.fr