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Politics

Greece Won’t Get French Frigate Warships in Water Until 2025, 2026

ATHENS – A current détente with Turkey, after the two countries were once near a point of conflict, isn’t stopping Greece from continuing to build its arsenal. However, three new French Belharra-class frigates won’t be put into service for another year or two.

Two of the warships have already been launched but are undergoing sea trials, while the third had its keel attached in April, meaning delivery won’t be until 2025 or 2026, although Turkish provocations have ceased for now.

Parts of the ships are being built at the Salamis Shipyards on that island, installed with advanced technology primarily sourced from France, said Euronews. They will be equipped with Exocet anti-surface missiles, Aster anti-air missiles, RAM missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes, helicopters, and drones.

These ships will also feature the latest radar technology, eliminating the need for a 360-degree rotation. “It’s a fixed panel, it means that the radar doesn’t rotate, it means that at every moment, every second, the crew sees everywhere,” Cyrille Brett from France’s Naval Group told the news site.

George Koros, President of Salamis Shipyards, told Euronews that, “Using this knowledge, I think Greece can turn the page and become a very important defense shipbuilder,” after lagging for years in the sector.

“I think we are going to see new projects from Salamis Shipyards and I hope from other shipyards that are going to be very important for Greece, and also for Europe and international shipping,” he said.

Greece signed a €3 billion ($3.26 billion) contract in 2021 for the warships during a time when tensions were running high with Turkey, whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened an invasion and demanded Greece remove troops from Aegean islands.

He also warned it would be a cause for war if Greece doubled its maritime boundaries to 12 miles and said he would again send an energy research vessel and warships off Greek islands but later pulled back in favor of diplomacy.

Greece has already purchased 18 French Rafale fighter jets and plans to buy another six to modernize its armed forces, while also seeking to upgrade its F-16 fleet and acquire more advanced American-made F-35s, which Turkey was denied due to its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

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