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In 5 bln euro arms program, battle over Greek frigates enters final stretch

The "naval battle" of the frigates that the navy will acquire is expected, sources say, to culminate by the end of September with the main contenders being France and the US and the new proposals they are preparing.

It appears that the time is approaching for the signing of deal on frigate purchases in Greece’s largest armament program in recent years, totaling 5 billion euros. The "naval battle" of the frigates that the navy will acquire is expected, sources say, to culminate by the end of September with the main contenders being France and the US and the new proposals they are preparing.

Shortly before the final battle, France and the US are playing all their cards. The French "weapons", in fact, may be submitted by the French President Emmanuel Macron himself, who, according to sources, may visit Greece. It is believed that he will bring a renewed and very tempting proposal for French frigates Belharra by Naval Group.

On the other hand, the new US proposal from Lockheed Martin, which in addition to the new frigates HF2 (Hellenic Frigate 2), will eventually include an "intermediate solution" ship, something that did not exist in the previous proposal. The US proposal - apart from its geopolitical value and significance, of course - has two very positive points. The first is their construction in Greek shipyards, and the second is the participation of Greek companies in the largest Greek armaments program in the last 20 years.

Also, Lockheed Martin has announced that it will cooperate with specific Greek companies in the construction of Greek frigates. This is seen greatly benefiting Greece’s defense, technology and shipbuilding industries. Greek businessmen have spoken openly about the need for Greek companies to participate in the country's armaments programs via the president of the Hellenic Association of Defense Equipment Manufacturers (SEKPY) Tasos Rozolis, who in an interview with Business Daily, had requested the participation of Greek companies in the Greek frigate construction program.

A key role in any choice to be made by the Greek government are the wider geopolitical interests that will be shaped. Negotiations for the conclusion of the new defense agreement between Greece and the US are now in the final stretch. According to Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, the agreement is expected to be signed in the US capital during his official visit next October.

On the other hand, the French position in the Eastern Mediterranean towards Turkey’s provocative behavior vocation is clear, while the cooperation with the acquisition of the Rafale fighters has already upgraded the Greek-French defense relations.

As for the other proposals that still remain on the table are the Dutch Damen with the Sigma frigate and the Italian Fincantieri with the Fremm frigate. The UK proposals for the Arrowhead140 of Babcock International and of Germany with the A-200 of ThyssenKrupp also remain in the battle for the frigates, however, they are one step behind.

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