Greece’s First FDI HN Frigate Technically Launched By Naval Group


Kimon is now ready for fitting out. Naval News picture.

Sept 28, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas


French shipbuilder Naval Group today conducted the "technical launch" of the first Kimon-class (FDI HN) for the Hellenic Navy. The launching ceremony with Greek and French officials will take place on October 4 2023.

by Dimitris Mitsopoulos  

Today marks a significant historical moment for Greece and the Hellenic Navy: The lead ship of the new Kimon-class (FDI HN) frigates was technically launched at the Naval Group Shipyard in Lorient, France. This outcome stems from the agreement signed in March 2022 between Greek officials with French manufacturers Naval Group, MBDA and Thales. The agreement calls for the procurement of three (plus one optional) Defense and Intervention Frigates (FDI) in their Hellenic Navy (HN) configuration, along with their weapons package and integrated logistics support (ILS). The three ships will carry the names of famous Greek generals and admirals.

The ceremonial launch of the first Greek FDI HN will take place on October 4, 2023 in Lorient in the presence of Sébastien Lecornu, French minister of the Armed Forces, his Greek counterpart, Nikolaos Dendias and the Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff Vice Admiral Ioannis Drymousis. The lead ship, Kimon (F601), is expected to join the Greek Fleet in the first months of 2025. For the record, the keel laying of the ship took place in October 2022 highlighting a fast construction pace.

FDI HN: A new era for the Hellenic Navy

Tug boats are towing the hull of “Kimon”. The future frigate was floated out on the Scorff river at high tide. Naval Group will continue the fitting out of the ship pier-side, with the fitting of the PSIM among other things. Naval News photo.

The new ship will be the first new major surface combatant after 25 years when the last Hydra-class (MEKO 200HN) frigate Salamis was commissioned. Τhe entry into service of Kimon in 2025 will mark the beginning of a new era for Greece’s naval capabilities as several characteristics of the new frigate are introduced for the first time in the Navy. However, the most crucial addition the new frigate will introduce to the fleet is the integration of the ASTER 30 SAM system paired with the cutting-edge SEAFIRE radar. It has been about 20 years since the decommissioning of the last of the four obsolete former United States Navy C.F. Adams-class destroyers (D218 Kimon) armed with 40km-range SM-1 SAM, the only ships that could provide a large defensive umbrella over a fleet operating in hostile areas, as the current the frigates rely on ESSM Block 1 (Hydra-class) and NSSM (Elli-class) for air defence.

It’s noteworthy that the commencement of steel cutting for the second FDI HN, Nearhos (F602), occurred ahead of schedule, on July 13, 2022, deviating from the contract’s initial estimate of October 31, 2022. A similar scenario unfolded for the third FDI HN, Phormion (F603), with the cutting of its inaugural steel plate taking place on July 12, 2023, as opposed to the originally projected date of October 31, 2023. Naval Group reported their accomplishment of a 36-month construction timeline.

 The first two FDI frigates will enter service in French configuration (Standard 1) because they were initially destined for the French Navy (Marine Nationale) which has ordered five vessels of the type. The Kimon-class frigates, will replace non-modernized Elli-class (Kortenaer-class) frigates. By 2026, Phormion (F603) will enter service and will be the first ship in the powerful Hellenic Navy (Standard 2) configuration, that includes among others 16 additional ASTER 30 SAM, 21-cell RAM CIWS and decoy launching systems by Lacroix. The first two FDI HN will be converted to Standard 2 configuration by 2027.

Boasting an array of state-of-the-art sensors and weapons capable of facilitating a wide spectrum of modern naval operations, the FDI HN unquestionably will be one of the most powerful surface combatants in its class and one of the most sophisticated designs on a global scale. Bringing together the best of naval technologies on a compact platform, the 4,550-ton FDI HN is a powerful, multipurpose and innovative frigate with the highest degrees of automation and control, designed to meet the evolution of threats.

The original plan of Greece outlined the procurement of four new frigates. However, it remains uncertain whether the Greek government will choose to exercise the option for a fourth vessel, which, if pursued, is likely to bear the name of one of the most famous naval heroes (and politicians) in Greek history, Themistocles.

Editing by Xavier Vavasseur


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