Naval Group, a global leader in naval defense and marine renewable energy, has reached a significant milestone in its ongoing partnership with Greece.
This monumental development is part of a crucial contract initiated in September 2021, aimed at providing Greece with three state-of-the-art warships to enhance its maritime capabilities, support national security, and contribute to European Union (EU) defense efforts.
As part of this contract, the Hellenic Navy will receive the HS Kimon, a powerful frigate with an array of advanced features and weaponry. The arrival of these frigates is eagerly anticipated, as they will significantly bolster the Hellenic Navy’s capabilities.
The existing fleet of 13 frigates, primarily dating back to the 1980s and early 2000s, will benefit greatly from the infusion of these modern vessels.
The HS Kimon: A Maritime Marvel
The jewel in the crown of this contract is undoubtedly the HS Kimon, a 4,500-ton (equivalent to 4.5 million kilograms) frigate with impressive dimensions.
Stretching 122 meters (approximately 400 feet) in length, 18 meters (about 59 feet) in width, and boasting a beam measuring 17.7 meters (about 58 feet), the HS Kimon is set to make a remarkable addition to the Hellenic Navy’s fleet.
…La FDI @navalgroup dispose de capacités de haut niveau dans tous les domaines de lutte : anti-navire, antiaérien, anti-sous-marin et projection de forces spéciales. Elle va renforcer rapidement et durablement les capacités de la flotte de surface de la marine 🇬🇷 pic.twitter.com/LqxIHaJv4W
— Préfet du Morbihan🇫🇷🇪🇺 (@Prefet56) October 4, 2023
Powered by a combined diesel and diesel engine, this frigate can reach a maximum speed of 27 knots, equivalent to 50 kilometers or 31 miles per hour. The exceptional combination of power and speed makes the HS Kimon a versatile and agile addition to the naval fleet.
Advanced Weaponry and Versatility
The HS Kimon is not only a vessel of remarkable size and speed but also boasts an impressive arsenal of weaponry. Its armament includes:
- The formidable Aster surface-to-air missiles.
- Exocet MM40 B3C naval anti-ship missiles.
- MU 90 lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes.
- CANTO countermeasures.
- 76-millimeter guns.
These state-of-the-art weapons will allow the frigate to operate effectively in various scenarios and offer robust defense capabilities to the Hellenic Navy.
Furthermore, the HS Kimon features an aviation deck capable of accommodating rotorcraft such as the Guépard Marine H160M and MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, as well as SDAM or Schiebel Camcopter S-100 aerial drones.
This versatility in aviation capabilities enhances the frigate’s ability to conduct a wide range of operations, from anti-submarine missions to search and rescue efforts.
Belharra-class Frigates: A New Horizon
The HS Kimon belongs to the Belharra-class frigates, which are the export version of the French government’s highly anticipated Defense and Intervention Frigate (FDI) program. The FDI program has garnered significant attention and acclaim for its cutting-edge technology and capabilities.
The French government’s contract for the FDI program includes the construction of five ships, signed four years prior to the agreement with the Hellenic Navy.
Naval Group joined forces with Thales, a renowned French defense company, to create onboard solutions for the FDIs. These solutions encompass sonar systems, radars, electronic warfare technology, and naval communication systems. This collaboration has resulted in some of the most advanced and comprehensive naval technology available today.
Construction of the first FDI frigate, known as Amiral Ronarc’h, began in 2019, with its keel laid in 2021. The ship reached a significant milestone when it was launched in November 2022. The French Navy is now eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Amiral Ronarc’h, scheduled for delivery by 2024.
Strengthening the Hellenic Navy
The launch of Greece’s first Belharra-class frigate, the HS Kimon, marks a crucial step in the Hellenic Navy’s ongoing efforts to enhance its maritime capabilities and ensure national security.
These modern vessels, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and weaponry, will significantly bolster Greece’s defense capabilities and contribute to the broader security and defense efforts of the European Union.
As part of the September 2021 contract, not only will the Hellenic Navy receive the HS Kimon, but there is also an option for an additional Belharra unit. This potential addition further underscores the commitment to strengthening the Greek naval fleet and protecting the country’s interests in the Mediterranean and beyond.
— Greek City Times (@greekcitytimes) October 10, 2023
The launch of the HS Kimon also signals a deepening partnership between Greece and France in the realm of defense. Naval Group’s track record of excellence in naval technology, combined with Thales’ expertise in defense solutions, ensures that the Hellenic Navy is equipped with the very best in maritime technology.
The unveiling of the first Belharra-class frigate, the HS Kimon, is a significant development in the ongoing efforts to enhance Greece’s maritime capabilities and national security.
With advanced weaponry, exceptional speed, and versatility in aviation capabilities, the HS Kimon is poised to make a substantial impact on the Hellenic Navy’s operational abilities. Furthermore, the broader collaboration with France in the form of the FDI program and the delivery of the Amiral Ronarc’h demonstrates the strength of international partnerships in the pursuit of security and defense.
Greece’s naval future looks brighter than ever as these modern warships take their place in the active fleet, strengthening its maritime presence and commitment to safeguarding its interests in the Mediterranean and beyond.