If the folder around the order of 18 Rafale aircraft by Greece negotiated in just a few weeks, the one surrounding the possible cession of French frigates to the Hellenic Navy has been dragging on for more than a decade. The progress made at the start of the year around the acquisition of the 2 FDI Belh @ rra frigates from Naval Group, in a standard identical to those ordered by the French Navy, were swept away during the summer by negotiations seem risky on the French side, having led Greece to consider other options, such as ordering new, less expensive frigates from the Netherlands or Germany.
Without going into detail in the budgetary negotiations, which will probably have to be steered by the Elysee Palace to develop positively, it is interesting to put into perspective the specific operational capacities of this new frigate with regard to the specific needs of the Hellenic Navy, to see how essential the FDI Belh @ rra would be to curb the planned rise in power of the Turkish Navy and Air Force and ensure a sufficiently dissuasive posture to prevent any reckless military adventurism in the Aegean Sea as in Cyprus. For this, we will study the 5 key operational capacities of Belh @ rra.
Air Defense and Denial of Access
122 meters long and 17,7 m from Maitre-Bau, the Defense and Intervention Frigate, or FDI, is a combat ship endowed with an unparalleled anti-air defense and denial of access capability for a ship of only 4500 tonnes. This capability results from the joint use of the Aster 30 anti-aircraft missile, jointly designed by France and Italy within the Eurosam consortium, and the Thale SeaFire 500 new generation radars. The Aster 30 can reach targets over 120 km away, at a speed of Mach 4,5, at an altitude of over 13.000 m. Its propulsion and force piloting system makes it both very responsive and maneuverable while maintaining its high speed and maneuvering capabilities throughout the flight, giving the missile an extraordinary No Escape Zone of 100 km (distance in below which it is no longer possible to avoid the missile by maneuver), much higher than that of American SM2 missiles. This is why the US Navy most often fires 2 SM2 missiles simultaneously, where a single Aster 30 is sufficient.
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