New frigates could be a joint production with Greece and U.S.

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The United States has proposed Greece purchases four American-made frigates, offering in return co-production of three vessels in the country, Defense News reports.

The leading defense publication says that should Greece decide to buy frigates from the U.S. as Washington is proposing that three of them will be co-produced by American-owned Onex Shipyards, based in the Greek island of Syros.

Frigate building shipyard Syros
Onex Shipyard in Syros.

“We think the United States is going to have a very competitive product to offer there with our frigates and the unique American proposal to co-produce three of those frigates here in Greece,” Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. Ambassador to Greece, was quoted as saying during a panel discussion hosted during the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

It is not clear what type of frigates Pyatt was referring to.

Defense News says that there are three possibilities.

First, the Lockheed Martin’s Multi-Mission Surface Combatant, being built at Fincantieri’s Marinette Marine shipyard.

Secondly, the refurbishment of four of the Oliver Hazzard Perry-class frigates.

Thirdly, but less likely, the recently launched new frigate design with Fincantieri’s FREMM.

In a statement, the Navy declined to discuss any pending sale.

“The Navy does not comment on pre-decisional discussions with foreign governments,” the statement said. “Any formal U.S. Government offer in the context of the Foreign Military Sales program will comply with congressional notification requirements.”

In September, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis presented an economic plan that called for a handful of weapons buys, including the purchase of four frigates, 18 Rafale fighter jets made by France’s Dassault — a combination of new and used planes — and four MH-60R helicopters from Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky.

Greece also plans to refurbish four MEKO frigates, as well as procure torpedoes and anti-tank weapons.

Pyatt said the United States paid “special attention” to the announcement and is eager to offer American defense products to the Greek military.

“Our industry is here for the long haul and is looking now to work with the Greek government as the Prime Minister seeks to modernize Greece’s defense capabilities,” he said according to Defense News.

The United States is not the only country with an interest in selling new naval vessels to Greece.

In 2019, France and Greece signed a letter of intent to open up formal discussions on a potential purchase of two Belharra frigates, which are being build by the Naval Group for France’s navy. However, Greek Defense Minister Niko Panagiotopoulos said then that there was still a “long way to go” before a final deal is reached between the two nations.