This Tuesday, September 28, French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriákos Mitsotákis, in the presence of military ministers Florence Parly and Nikólaos Panayotópoulos, signed a very ambitious memorandum of understanding, relating to the acquisition of 3 FDI Belharra frigates and 6 additional Rafale fighter jets for the Hellenic naval and air forces, as well as a defense agreement binding the two countries in the event of aggression. Beyond the commercial and economic aspects, this historic agreement between the two European countries could well constitute the effective starting point of the European defense initiative so desired by the French President as well as, obviously, the beginning of a cooperation. Franco-Greek strategy going well beyond the contracts signed today.
A firm order for 3 FDI and 6 Rafale
The most visible aspect of this agreement signed today between the two heads of state, is naturally the order of 3 FDI Belharra frigates and 6 new Rafale combat aircraft, in addition to the 18 other units already ordered by Athens at the start of the year. The contract, estimated at around € 3 billion, is very welcome for the French Defense Industry hard hit by the Australian episode but also Switzerland. What is more, the 3 frigates will be assembled at the Naval Group site in Lorient, thereby making it possible to speed up production speed, and very likely to lower costs, the first two ships to be delivered in 2025, and the 3rd in 2026. We therefore suspect that among the 3 frigates to be built, some will be taken from the initial load plan of the 5 frigates of the same type ordered by the French Navy, as was the case, for example, with the FREMM frigates sold to Egypt and Morocco. This is undoubtedly excellent news for the Lorient site, which was in need of additional work for the years to come, making it possible to secure highly qualified jobs and support the regional economy.
It is easy to imagine that the announcement of Athens' decision in favor of France was partly conditioned by the Australian episode; It is nonetheless true that it is an agreement negotiated after a hard fight, against 5 other American and European industrialists determined to win in this competition. The amount of € 3 billion advanced for the contract, suggests that France has indeed granted the discounts promised to Athens, with a unit price for each equipped and armed frigate around € 800 million, service and training included, bringing the FDI back to prices closer to those of its competitors, while being much more efficient in all areas, and particularly in anti-aircraft defense. The order of the 6 additional Rafale, for its part, had already confirmed by the Greek Prime Minister a few days ago. Through these two acquisitions, the Greek armed forces will benefit considerably increased military power against Turkey, even as the latter recently announced the very likely imminent acquisition of a second batch of Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft systems, and the launch of the FT-2000 heavy destroyer program.
The start of deep industrial cooperation
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