Various media reports said Tuesday that Greece plans to purchase intervention frigates from France.
According to Greek news broadcasters OnAltert and OPEN TV, the intervention frigates, also known as Belharra, will eventually become part of Greece's new naval fleet.
Greece maintains close ties with France and the acquisition of French frigates is the largest weapons program ever undertaken by its armed forces. According to media reports, the total cost amounts to 5 billion euros ($6.05 billion).
The program covers the construction of four multifunctional frigates along with their equipment and also encompasses the modernization of the old frigates and their technical support. Of the four new frigates to join the Greek Navy, it is expected that two will be built at Greek shipyards.
The decision to purchase Belharra frigates was also influenced by the recent Greek acquisition of Rafale fighters from France.
In 2019, Athens and Paris inked a letter of intent to begin negotiations with Greece for the acquisition of two defense and intervention Belharra frigates, worth about 750 million euros a piece, each to be built by France’s Naval Group.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly announced the deal on his Twitter and said, “France has signed a letter of intent with Greece on its purchase of two defense and intervention frigates.”
His counterpart Niko Panagiotopoulos told reporters after the meeting with Parly that there was still “a long way to go” before agreeing on the final configuration of the frigates for Greece, suggesting that they are unlikely to be identical to those that the French Naval Group is building for the French fleet.