Greece announced on Tuesday that it has named the three modern frigates it will acquire from France after ancient Greek naval commanders.
The three FDI frigates will be named after Cimon, who rose to prominence for his bravery in fighting in the naval Battle of Salamis in 480 BC; Nearchus, an admiral in the army of Alexander the Great; and Phormio, an Athenian general and admiral before and during the Peloponnesian War.
In this symbolic move, Greece celebrates the great naval history of the nation from ancient times to modernity.
Greece had signed the paperwork for three new French frigates, plus a fourth if things go well, in a deal that could be worth around $3.5 billion in March 2022.
It followed a strategic defense partnership between the countries initiated last fall by French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The first two frigates will be acquired by Greece in 2025 while Greece will take ownership of the third in 2026.
Who were the three naval commanders of ancient Greece
Cimon (Κίμων) (c. 510 – 450 BC) was an Athenian general, admiral, and politician. He was the son of Miltiades, also an Athenian general.
Cimon rose to prominence for his bravery in fighting in the naval Battle of Salamis (480 BC), during the Second Persian invasion of Greece.
He was then elected as one of the ten generals to continue the Persian Wars against the Achaemenid Empire. He played a leading role in the formation of the Delian League against Persia in 478 BC, becoming its commander in the early Wars of the Delian League, including at the Siege of Eion (476 BC).
Nearchus (Νέαρχος) was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. He is known for his celebrated expeditionary voyage starting from the Indus River, through the Persian Gulf, and ending at the mouth of the Tigris River following the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great in 326 to 324 BC.
Phormio (Φορμίων) was an Athenian general and admiral before and during the Peloponnesian War.
A talented naval commander, Phormio commanded at several famous Athenian victories in 428 BC and was honored after his death with a statue on the acropolis and a state funeral. He is considered one of Athens’ many great admirals alongside Themistocles and Cimon.
New frigates will boost Greece’s defense capability
Naval Group says the FDI frigates’ air and surface combat power stems from modern sensors such as the Thales Sea Fire radar. The ships boast a novel, integrated mast combining all on-board sensor signals for permanent, 360-degree surveillance of the surroundings, according to the shipbuilder.
Weaponry includes Naval Group’s MU90 torpedoes as well as Exocet anti-ship and Aster anti-aircraft missiles made by MBDA. The ship type also sports space for a ten-ton helicopter and an aerial drone.
Notably, Naval Group’s CANTO anti-torpedo weapon also is part of the package for Greece. The system consists of small, launchable decoys constantly emitting a flood of signals in efforts to misguide incoming torpedoes away from the ship, effectively running them out of gas.