Does our Navy face a dead end? a harsh reality

By | May 1, 2023

Our Navy, and the renewal of its aging fleet of surface units, has for several years been a favorite topic of discussion in all defense circles. Historically, Greece has always had a strong Navy, capable of fighting and winning no matter what the circumstances. While the current Force Structure envisions a powerful fleet, which will theoretically consist of 12 frigates and 6 corvettes.

It is not very difficult to understand that this is impossible to implement with the current data. There was a fund of 5,500 million euros, of which 3.3 were committed to the purchase of 3 FDI HN frigates (3,050 million euros plus reserves). The remaining 2.2 billion is very marginally enough (we will probably need at least 500 million more, that is, 6 billion) to achieve the purchase of 3 modern corvettes and the modernization of 4 MEKO200HN.

It must be said that those who continue to “push” or wait for the 4th IDF HN must already realize the infeasibility of the market, no matter how much we want it as a means of defense. But, what is the impasse of the PN that our title mentions? But precisely the impossibility of acquiring a large fleet of large surface units, which we need to have a presence both in the Aegean and in the Eastern Mediterranean/Cyprus.

Someone will be able to say that the solution is in the used boats. It is not, since the non-existence of used cars in the international market is now visible. British Type 23 frigates are not an option, some are retired, others will remain in service due to delayed replacement and there is no incentive to give them to us. The Adelaide frigates that belonged to the Australian Navy and that we once thought of but did nothing of substance, now proudly serve the Chileans, and even have SM-2 missiles with a range of 100 miles. The French La Fayettes are not available, as they currently cover Navy missions there, for which there is no replacement yet.

OPINION: What happened to the Adelaide frigates? Have we flatly rejected them, and if so, why?

For those who are “concerned”, not even retired US Navy LCSs are available, as even if the Navy requests them, they will be on a waiting list behind Taiwan, Ukraine and Egypt. After all, it’s a common secret that the US Navy is concerned after the HF2 backlash and lack of cooperation in the matter of S-70B/B6 helicopters (which also record “contemptuous” behavior ” on the Greek side).

And the Ticonderoga cruisers, which FLIGHT has written about so many times, have value as the main asset in a large fleet, but they cannot play the role of “frigate”! Other existing frigates, such as Australian MEKO200ANZACs, Canadian Halifaxes and Italian Maestrals, will not be launched or, when they are launched for sale/concession, they will be so old that they will make no difference to the Greek S.

In a nutshell, the options used for PN have ended. Maybe start the “patents” the US Navy is considering in the Pacific (for example, amphibious ships that will launch Marine NSM anti-ship missile assemblies and strike out of thin air), maybe re-modernize the S ( keeping them 70 years in service), maybe the Laskaridis Foundation buys more general support ships and the PN puts in MM40 Block 3c & SAMP/T fixes. But jokes aside, there’s a dead end. Asking for “more money” is not a solution either.

ThinkOutOfTheBox – Buy 2 additional IDF frigates plus 3 La Fayette, instead of 3 corvettes

This must be emphasized again. There are no new large surface ship funds for the Navy. We must bear in mind that the next funds that the PN will receive should go to the modernization of the 214HN submarines and the Roussenne missiles. Both classes must be updated immediately if we want to keep them alive. I also need to buy 3 modern submarines and more missiles, marginally light corvettes. And of course the Air Force and Army also have a large share of the equipment costs that follow where the list is endless (new fighters, new weapons, air defense systems, radar, TOMA, tank upgrade, artillery , rocket launcher upgrade). , special ammunition, means of transport, helicopters, are only the critical needs).

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How did we get here?

It was already far back in 2018 when FLIGHT began writing about the pressing needs of our Navy. A period where military needs had moved to second or even third place with the pressure of the memorandum, adding the mission of accounting support to refugee camps, while also having slick PR with “crosses” of pilots and leaks about the purchase. from “Indian BrahMos”.

This was the case in 2018 when we put the idea of ​​used boats on the table. After all, at that time the FREMMs, the purchase of which had been discussed for almost ten years, were not progressing, the MEKO200HNs were not being modernized, the Roussenne No. 6 and 7 missiles were still at Eleusis. And among all the others, it was in a Supreme Naval Council in 2018, when the idea of ​​the “small PN” was presented, which provoked strong reactions from the then AGEN Admiral Tsunis. A Navy that would voluntarily reduce its endowment to 6 or 7 large ships, 6 helicopters, 7 Roussins and 5 submarines. With the reason that these smaller forces are fully operational and manned.

Affair; The Navy continues to be a key driver of our country’s intervention and EEZ claims in a large area of ​​the Eastern Mediterranean. At the same time, it is the “tool” of contact and defense of Cyprus. In other words, missions and responsibilities that it could not fulfill with reduced forces, while its “absence” risked leaving space in Turkey. Therefore, it is clear that such a change in philosophy and doctrine can only come from the political leadership, and cannot come from the GEN and the GEETHA.

Remember the obvious? How the Armed Forces carry out the popular will expressed through the elections. If a party, e.g. declares before the elections that he does not want us to reclaim the EEZ and extract hydrocarbons there, and he is voted to govern, then yes, he can change the relevant military obligations and priorities. In any case, the Armed Forces are disciplined according to the democratic imperative, while when “a lot” is asked of them, they have the obligation to request -and imperatively- the availability of the corresponding means.

DISCUSSION: Can the LaFayette frigates be incorporated into the PN immediately and at no cost?

We arrive at the difficult 2020 with the refugee crisis of March and the “hot” summer of the same year. However, these almost warlike crises led to the commitment of 5.5 billion euros to strengthen the PN. But everyone knew that 5,500 million was the “ceiling” of spending on large ships. And with 9 aging S and 4 MEKO200HN that wanted to modernize “yesterday”, the PN wanted radical changes. FLIGHT, from June 2020, had written an article that tried to shake the waters, the following:

Emergency budget for PN now or we’ll stay with S’ until the sun goes down

So the plan of those days was 4 new frigates, 2+ used and 4 modernized MEKO200HN. This was shortly after 3 IDF HN, 4 corvettes and the cancellation of the MEKO modernization. A total of only 7 new ships.

However, very soon, with the intervention of Maximos, the modernization of the MEKO200HN returned to being a top priority, while the obligation to build the corvettes in Greece led to a reduction in their number from 4 to 3.. And the current leadership of the PN has made it very clear that the goal is 18 ships, not 8. Realistically of course, ask for 18 to achieve at least 12 to 14. But if you start with a goal of 8, at best the cases achieve the… 6 or 7.

EXCLUSIVE: Babcock offers the PN the AH140HN frigate with CAMM-ER, for less than 550 million euros per ship!

Could we, from September 2020, when the “triple” program of new, upgraded and second-hand MEKO frigates was announced, achieve the goal of 12 ships, new and second-hand? Which, along with some S’s, would allow Greece to extend the 12 miles where it can and push for an EEZ? Let’s look at some claim scenarios on our part that should have been sought that periodin a combination of political and technocratic bargaining.

  1. French solution 1. 4 IDF HN, along with 5 La Fayette, modernization 4 MEKO200HN, total 13 ships.

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