The official launch ceremony of Greece's new "Kimon" frigate in France - Watch the video


In the presence of the Minister of Defence Nikos Dendias, his French counterpart Sébastien Lecorny and the Chief of General Staff Vice-Admiral Ioannis Drymousis, the official launch ceremony of Greece's first FDI frigate (Belh@rra) named "Kimon" took place in Lorient, Brittany F-601".

This launch is a new important step for Greece, said Mr. Dendias immediately after his tour of the frigate and emphasised that these new generation frigates can face today's challenges.

In his speech, the Minister of Defense emphasised that "it is a great honour to be here. I am very excited. It is a top event for Greece and a milestone for defence and security.

"The 'Kimon' frigate is a source of pride for the armed forces and the Greeks. 'Kimon' continues the tradition of Greece as a superpower at sea and is a factor of naval superiority and security in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond.

"However, my presence here proves the strong ties between France and Greece as well as the mutual commitment of the two countries to cooperation and mutual assistance in the context of international law.

"The construction of these frigates is a complex program, and I want to thank my predecessor, Nikos Panagiotopoulos because he brought this great agreement to fruition".

Watch the launching ceremony live:

For his part, the French Minister of Defence, Sébastien Lecornu, referred to the close cooperation in the field of Defense between France and Greece, which extends beyond the frigates to the Rafale aircraft and the first equipped drones.

He also referred to the balance in the Mediterranean, which, after the war in Ukraine, has turned into a sea with "different needs", where the two countries have an important role.

In his speech, the CEO of the Naval Group, Pierre-Eric Pommellet, thanked Greece for the trust to entrust Naval with the construction of the frigates and emphasised the company's cooperation with the Skaramangas shipyards.

He underlined that over 1,500 partners worked together for this particular ship and said that the "Kimon" frigate was opening a new page with Greece.

It is characteristic that he started and finished his speech in Greek and was applauded for it.

Today's launch takes place months ahead of the planned date in 2024 and shows the rapid development of the shipbuilding program.

"Kimon" is the first of the three brand new Belh@rra frigates the Navy will receive.

The first six months are spent assembling the hull. It is the ship's main body on which all the other superstructures will "step". Then, the work continues, placing the blocks that come prefabricated and "snap" onto the ship.

Following are various systems, such as that of propulsion. Impressive is that the entire assembly process is digitised, and, as characteristically emphasised in the presentation, the workers have tablets at their disposal to monitor the assembly stages and work on them.

Another characteristic is that every week, depending on the stage at which the ship is being assembled, kilometres of wiring serve and support the ship's functions.

In 2024, the tests of the ship will follow, and by the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025, it is expected to be delivered to the Navy to join the fleet.

According to the schedule, the second frigate, named "Nearchos", is expected to be delivered in the fall of 2025, and the third frigate, called "Formation", is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in 2026.

Based on the agreement between Athens and Paris, there is an option to purchase one more FDI frigate if the country wants to activate it.

These ships will be among the most advanced frigates at the pan-European level.

The Minister of National Defense Nikos Dendias and Vice-Admiral I. Drymousis took a tour of the newly built frigate "Kimon F-601". Then, they inspected the construction work of the second Greek frigate, "Nearchos F-602," which is in the advanced stage of assembling its parts.

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