WASHINGTON — U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin wants Greece’s act of building an arsenal against Turkey, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government making deals to get French warships and fighter jets.
The US firm and the Greek Navy are talking about a proposal to buy the US-built warships, Defense News said, as an additional bulwark against constant Turkish provocations and violations of waters and space. Greek air.
Lockheed Martin and the US Navy jointly offered the official US offer to the Hellenic Navy in December, in a letter of agreement that expired on March 17 but was extended until September 18, according to the report.
This was designed to see if an agreement on purchase and acquisition could be reached after Greece’s agreements with France
Greece reached a $3.51 billion deal to buy three French Belharra frigates and the US State Department authorized a $6.9 billion sale of four multi-mission surface combatants, in addition to $2.5 billion in upgrades to the country’s existing Meko-class ships, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported in December 2021.
In January, as six of the 24 French-made Rafale fighter jets arrived in Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at a welcoming ceremony that they were a deterrent against Turkey, which repeatedly sends fighters in Greek airspace.
“The new fighters make our air force one of the most powerful in Europe and the Mediterranean, and seal the Greek-French defense agreement,” he added, citing an agreement between the countries to help each other,” Kathimerini said.
It has a cost of 3.3 billion euros ($3.74 billion), with Greece also planning to purchase three French Belharra frigates at a cost of 3-5 billion euros ($3.4-5. $7 billion) to put more warships in the seas where Turkey has employed its own between countries.
Defense News said Greece initially planned a multi-pronged approach to modernizing its surface fleet: purchasing new frigates and corvettes, modernizing its four Hydra-class MEKO frigates, and obtaining second-hand surface ships to operate while the MEKOs are half-life. upgrade program.
The official US pitch was for Lockheed Martin to upgrade the MEKOs with the company’s Aegis combat system-centric product suite; the Hellenic Navy to purchase a number of the company’s future Hellenic Frigate, also centered on the Aegis system and designed specifically for Greece’s mission needs.
LOTS OF FIREPOWER
The first would be built in the United States and later ships built in Greece; and the US Navy to provide four decommissioned warships to temporarily fill the gaps, the report adds.
Lockheed Martin Vice President and General Manager for Naval Combat and Missile Defense Systems Joe DePietro told Defense News that his company is offering the Hellenic Navy to buy more warships.
DePietro said in a Feb. 17 interview that Greece originally wanted up to four to six frigates and four to six corvettes and that it was clear Greece wanted its domestic shipbuilding industry involved.
Naval Group, which builds the Belharra frigates, will build the Greek ships on its production line in Lorient with its own predominantly French supply chain, the report adds.
Lockheed Martin said it saw an opening to push for ship modernization and even shipbuilding with Greek builders and suppliers after Greek industry fell on hard times.
The American company is trying to persuade Greece to purchase a slightly different surface combatant from the Hellenic Future Frigate – either the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship with lethality and survivability upgrades to fulfill the corvette portion of the plan, be the largest Multi-Mission Surface Fighter.
This is currently being built for Saudi Arabia from which the HF2 design is derived – and could be ready to start production immediately at the Hellenic shipyard outside Athens, according to the report.
Lockheed said it had previously had conversations with George Procopiou, who last year bought the Hellenic shipyard in Skaramagas, just west of Athens.
“We’ve met him five times now, and it’s gotten to the point where at the last meeting I was explaining to him the module failure of building an LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) or an MMSC ( Multi-Mission Surface Combant), material flows, what would be done in the jobsite and how we would like to optimize the jobsite,” DePietro said.
DePietro said Lockheed Martin has not signed formal agreements with the shipyard, but the Elefsis shipyard, near the Hellenic shipyard, has no clear owner and cannot participate in the talks.
It remains unclear whether Greece is interested in Lockheed’s proposals, with talks extended but no deal reached.