ATHENS – A parade of foreign countries and defense firms are lining up in hopes of working with Greek shipyards to upgrade warships as Greece has built up its arsenal against Turkish provocations, which included buying 24 French-made Rafale fighter jets and French and American vessels .
Defense News said that while the military build-up has slowed, France and the United States as well as Italy, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands want ship work collaborations with Greece.
France’s new Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu met with Greece’s Vice Defense Minister Nikolaus Hardalias at the Hellenic pavilion during the biennial Euronaval trade conference in Paris in October, it was noted.
France and Greece earlier signed a mutual defense agreement that was excoriated by an angry Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said Greece’s arms buildup and making foreign allies wouldn’t protect Greece.
A major program to recapitalize Greece’s Corvette fleet has recently stalled, Defense News said it had learned, but competitors are signing new contracts with local suppliers to shore up support once the program moves forward.
France’s Naval Group, the Netherlands’ Damen, the UK’s Babcock, Italy’s Fincantieri, and the United States’ Lockheed Martin want to join in the effort to replace the Corvettes although it’s on hold for now.
Jonathan Walton, Vice-President of Business Development for Marine and Technology at Babcock International Group, told Defense News at the company’s booth at Euronaval about the developments, the site said.
Babcock had proposed its Arrowhead 140 frigate – the basis for the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigates currently in construction – for Greece’s frigate replacement program, initially, and now the corvette replacements.
The British shipyard had also initiated agreements “in principle” with local suppliers in Greece to sweeten the deal, said Walton, but the site said the Greek Ministry of Defense hadn’t responded initially.
France’s Naval Group has proposed its GoWind 2500 multipurpose corvette for the Hellenic Navy, the report said, adding the French company has signed about 20 contracts to reinforce relations with Greek shipbuilding industry partners, including seven at Euronaval during the meeting between the two defense ministers.
Lockheed Martin vied for the frigate construction program alongside Naval Group, and for a time was pursuing options to nab a contract to build several additional ships. That letter of agreement has since expired, company officials told reporters at the Euronaval conference.
The company is continuing to make inroads with Greek shipbuilders to develop “an indigenous design for a smaller vessel, Corvette sized,” as well as an integrated combat system, said Joe DiPietro, Vice-President and General Manager for Naval Combat and Missile Defense Systems.