Greece and France signed on Thursday the deal for the procurement by the Hellenic Navy of three Belharra frigates, with an option for a fourth.
The signing ceremony was held onboard the “Battleship Georgios Averof“, permanently docked as a museum at Paleo Faliro, the coastal suburb south of Athens.
The ceremony included Greek National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly. Also attending were representatives of the two countries’ officials who signed the final agreements – including the manufacturers Naval, MBDA, and Dassault Aviation.
Minister Panagiotopoulos said that “never have negotiations for such complex and large armaments programs been completed so quickly and methodically,” and reiterated that the Belharras and Rafales will contribute to Greece’s ability to defend its territorial integrity and its sovereign rights, and act as a deterrent.
The collaboration between Greece and France is a great advantage, and will help in constructing the European defense of the future, he noted.
Η τελετή υπογραφής για την απόκτηση των φρεγατών #Belharra αλλά και των μαχητικών #Rafale, είναι γεγονός. Οι #Ένοπλες_Δυνάμεις ενισχύουν την μαχητική τους ικανότητα. 🇬🇷 και 🇫🇷 προωθούν το κοινό τους όραμα για την Ευρώπη της Άμυνας.#Belhara #Rafale https://t.co/rsj2Wubvek pic.twitter.com/q5mtV1KYSB
— N Panagiotopoulos (@npanagioto) March 24, 2022
In accordance with the defense agreement signed last October between Greece and France, the Hellenic authorities have signed two contracts with Naval Group for the supply of three Defence and Intervention Frigates (FDI HN), plus one optional, as well as their in-service support. The contracts include as well the supply of MU90 torpedoes and CANTO countermeasures.
New frigates will “develop partnership between Greece and France”
Pierre Éric Pommellet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Naval Group hailed the new chapter in the strategic alliance between Greece and France.
“Greece has chosen the latest generation of frigates that bring together the best of French naval know-how and will strengthen the capabilities of the Hellenic Navy. The frigates program is the first of many steps in the partnership between Naval Group and the Hellenic Navy and will contribute to the development of the partnership between our countries, our navies and our industries for decades to come,” he said.
Made by France’s Naval Group, two warships are due to be delivered in 2025 and the third the following year, with an option to add a fourth frigate to be ready in 2027.
Following the signing on the Averof, the officials paid a visit to the French aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle” and were given a tour by its captain.
Enfin en Grèce ! Καλησπέρα! pic.twitter.com/sqUnymO0RJ
— La France en Grèce 🇨🇵🇪🇺 (@FranceenGrece) March 24, 2022
Four French Rafale fighter jets from the French aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle” will join Greek planes and helicopters in the sky above Athens on Friday, during the military parade to mark the March 25 national holiday and Greece’s independence day.
The French armed forces will also participate in the holiday with the frigate “Alsace”, which will sail into Piraeus port, and a French Navy Guard of Honour without arms at Syntagma Square, which will be accompanied by a Greek military honour guard.