Greece is set to receive its first shipment of helicopter-based anti-submarine sonar equipment from the United States, defense company Thales said in a press release issued on Tuesday.
Under the contract, Thales will partner with Lockhead Martin to provide a total of 55 Airborne Low Frequency Sonars (ALFS) to the United State Navy. These sonars will become available to the Hellenic Navy as part of U.S Foreign Military Sales of MH-60 naval helicopters.
According to Thales, 42 of the sensors will be provided within the next five years with the remaining 13 delivered on the sixth year. Besides Greece, the navies of India and Denmark will also receive ALFS from Thales.
“Earning the trust of the U.S. Navy and its allies and partners around the globe is a source of pride for our team. This contract enhances our position as a strategic supplier to Lockheed Martin and further consolidates the Group’s world leadership position in anti-submarine warfare systems,” said Alexis Morel, vice president for underwater systems at Thales.
The news of the sales follows closer military cooperation between the U.S and Greece in recent years. Last year, the U.S proposed the co-production and sale of three frigates to Greece’s navy. Athens also received other offers to receive frigates from supplier in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and France as well.
Anti-submarine sonar only part of $600 million sale
In 2019, the U.S State Department cleared a $600 million sale of seven MH-60 helicopters to Greece. The ALFS that are designed to detect and track enemy submarines can be deployed by the MH-60.
Specific equipment and weapons requested by Government of Greece from the U.S include T700 GE-401 C engines, AGM-114 M36-E9 Captive and AGM-114Q Hellfire air training missiles, Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) Rockets, MK 54 Torpedoes, M-2400 Crew Served Guns; and GAU-21 Crew Served Guns.
This also comes at a time of increased defense pending on the part of Athens.
Last December, Greek lawmakers approved a state budget that doubled defense spending. Greece’s defense budget after the latest approval was expected to reach approximately $6.6 billion.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis previously told lawmakers during debates over the defense budget that his government would acquire new equipment that would include helicopters.
Eighteen new Rafale fighter jets were also purchased from France as part of this new spending program.
The Greek Parliament overwhelmingly approved in January the purchase of the Rafale fighter jets. The French-made Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.