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Europe’s Largest Shipbuilder to Produce Warships in Greece

Corvette ship
Europe’s Largest Shipbuilder, Fincantiery, to Produce Warships in Greece. (Corvette ship) Credit: Torsten Batge / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.5

The largest shipbuilder in Europe, Italian Fincantieri, and Elefsis Shipyards in Greece, owned by Onex, have signed a memorandum for the production and maintenance of two corvettes, with an option for a third.

It provides for the construction of state-of-the-art warships at the facilities of Elefsis Shipyards in Attica, Greece.

The shipbuilding of the three corvettes, together with the necessary upgrades, improvements, know-how and transfer of technology and equipment, is estimated at 80 million euros, the Ministry of Development and Investment said in a statement.

The project is expected to open 2,500 new jobs in the shipbuilding sector. A collaboration with multiplier-effect benefits for the Greek economy and defense will be launched. There is opportunity for further collaborations between the two groups in future programs, allowing for the construction of war and merchant ships, the Ministry added.

Elefsis Shipyards as a point of reference

The agreement was signed on Friday between Elefsis Shipyards’ owners, Onex Shipyards and Technologies Group, which are of American interests, and Italy-based shipbuilders, Fincantieri. This agreement pertains to the creation of a production and maintenance line for corvettes at Elefsis Shipyards in Attica, Greece.

Signing at the Ministry of Development and Investment were Fincantieri CEO Pierroberto Folgiero and Onex President and CEO Panos Xenokostas. Greece Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis was also present as were Alternate Minister Nikos Papathanassis, Italian Ambassador to Athens Patrizia Falcinelli, and Fincantieri’s General Manager of Naval Vessels Division, Dario Deste.

“We are utilizing a unique feature of the Italian defense industry, where a network of small and medium-sized companies collaborates with global ones: this is exactly what we want to apply in Greece to make Elefsis Shipyards a point of reference,” Fincantieri CEO Pierroberto Folgiero commented.

French frigatte
A French frigatte. credit: Naval Group

Greece warships acquisition program

Greece is yet to reach a decision on its €1.5 billion corvette acquisition program after the final bids from France and Italy were submitted earlier in December for the construction of three warships with the option of adding a fourth.

In either case, the first corvette will be built in France or Italy and delivered in 2025. The rest will be made in Greece.

“Of course, today’s signature does not prejudge the outcome of the process for the corvette program, which will be a decision taken by the Greek Government and the Ministry of National Defense by examining all submitted proposals in an equal manner,” Georgiadis pointed out.

“However, today’s memorandum ensures that Elefsis Shipyards can meet expectations and deliver the relevant program, if and when selected by the Navy,” he added. “In any case, today’s signing shows the strong interest of a huge worldwide shipbuilding group in Greece.”

Greece has been modernizing its defense forces in the face of repeated threats by Turkey in the Aegean in recent years.

Last March, an agreement was signed between Greece and France for the acquisition by the Hellenic Navy of three Belharra frigates, and, earlier in 2022, the Hellenic Parliament approved an arms agreement with France which also includes the purchase of six new Rafale fighter jets to an existing order for eighteen aircraft.

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